Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2007 debut album from Swedish outfit. featuring radiant vocalist Yukimi Nagano and her close high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrick Källgren (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards), Little Dragon stepped into the spotlight with the release of their first double A-side single on Peacefrog (home to José Gonzalez and Findlay Brown), `Twice'/'Test'. A former Rough Trade `Single of the Week'. Yukimi has sung with Sweden's Electronica-Jazz outfit Koop, and both Yukimi and Erik play live with José González. The album is marvelously book ended by the drifting percussion and electronic dynamics of `Scribbled Paper', showcasing another wonderful vocal performance. Little Dragon take tired musical traces and styles, give them a shot in the arm to leave us with something fresh and positive. It is a debut full of subtle touches, capturing fleeting emotional moments, twinned with gnawingly memorable Pop flourishes and hooks. Peacefrog.
Personnel: Håkan Wirenstrand, Erik Bodin (vocals, keyboards, drums); Yukimi Nagano (vocals, keyboards, percussion); Fredrik Wallin (keyboards, percussion).
Illustrator: Yusuke Nagano.
For years now, the world of music has been too global and interconnected for one to truly be surprised at an outfit such as Little Dragon, but it's no less a wonder that a sound as American as soul and R&B can infuse the music this pervasively of a group of high school buddies from Sweden. Little Dragon is a dynamic self-titled debut that is yet another credible and enchanting Euro-approximation of soul and rhythm & blues. Vocalist Yukimi Nagano displays all the subtle inflections and conspicuous acrobatics that have identified the R&B genre for years, but specifically the more recent paradigms of the Chaka Khans and MJBs, noted easily on the album's highlight "Constant Surprises." Meanwhile, "Wink" is a sexy, synth-heavy club banger that might conjure some of the more poppish acts (Rihanna). But the album -- and group -- don't stop there, thankfully. They give you everything from quaint piano ballads ("Twice") to jazz-drenched pieces, like "After the Rain" where keyboardist Håkan Wirenstrand makes like Herbie Hancock with his sparse and dissonant chording. "Forever" is an ambient number meant for dark lounges with a lot of pheromone activity. It's a genuine album bolstered by the group's collective artistry. It proves, once again, that geography has very little to do with authenticity. ~ Vincent Thomas