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    Lakin Starling
July 27, 2011  | by: Lakin Starling

Little Dragon

Ritual Union is finally here. One of my most anticipated albums of the year, and it’s finally here! The album officially dropped yesterday, but the band gave NPR radio a first listen leak a few days before the release. Let me just say, it’s great. Little Dragon, a band based out of Gothenberg, Sweden, (a place known for producing great eclectic and unique artists) is anchored by  lead vocalist and indie Japanese-Swedish goddess Yukimi Nagano.  The group still seems to be the most discovered, yet quietly kept secret.

Ritual Union Album Cover

High school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrik Kallgren Wallin (bass), Rashik Aryal (keyboards) and Yukimi were rejected from music school but have been on a roll ever since. With a guitar-less band, Little Dragon produces an electronica, synth, pop, and soul sound.  In simpler terms, it’s something you’ve never heard before. Touring with the Gorillaz and gracing the US with their live shows, their singles “Little Man” and “Nightlight” have already become favorites.

Little Dragon defies any norms and assumed direction with each project. Ritual Union is a genius fusion of their first two albums, Little Dragon and Machine Dreams, with clear maturation of their musical harmony. Drummer Erik Bodin explained in a Consequence of Sound interview, saying, “We’re putting a some more of our homemade soul into it.”

Not to mention the dimensions that the musicians have added to the instrumentals, but Yukimi’s voice seems even more soulful, more up close and personal. One of the greatest things about the group is the beautiful contradictions in Yukimi’s voice that she makes all seem synonymous. Sultry, soft, futuristic and soulful, she makes it all make sense. Ritual Union is the album that I’m sure will open up the eyes that haven’t been opened and widen those that have been cracked. With vocal collaborations with the Gorillaz, Maximum Balloon and dubstep/grime producer SBTKRT on “Wildfire”, the movement is in the right direction.

Do yourself a favor and cop the album. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Check out the free streaming here.

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