Little Dragon - Little Dragon

Matt Churchill 10/10/2007

Rating: 3.5/5

Little Dragon are a chilled out four-piece from Gothenburg in Sweden who have released their debut self-titled album on Peace Frog. A soulful ambient experience awaits anyone who encounters this band, with diverse sounds that range from relaxing piano ballads to hectic dance tracks with time signatures that sway from straight to curveballed in the snap of a snare drum.

Yukimi Nagano's vocals stand out on the deep 'Twice', the record's opening offering which features the heavy presence of a moody piano. 'Turn Left is an angular almost-house-like track that switches time signatures all over the place and is underpinned by electronic ramblings from keyboardist Håkan Wirenstrand. The laid back 'No Love' is the purest of turntable soul which contrasts heavily with the suitably danced-up 'Recommendation'.

'Constant Surprises' could be a Massive Attack b-side and stands out for the far too funky basslines provided by Fredrick Källgren which are a joy to behold. Opening with a jungle sounding drum, 'Forever' is like peering around a corner down into a dark alley and not knowing what you're going to find once you've walked down there, in a 2dtv sort of way. 'After the Rain' is a funky jazz track that gives Nagano's sultry vocals room to roam before the eclectic 'Place To Belong' which sounds like it could be on the Mario Kart soundtrack.

The suitably angst ridden 'Stormy Weather' and 'Test' add an air of insecurity to an otherwise positive record which shines with 'Wink', a brilliantly groovy track that fans of U.N.K.L.E would appreciate. Album closer 'Scribbled Paper' is an epic track with high pitched synths that are intended to grab heart-strings and run away with them before you've noticed.

A fine debut from a band to look out for, 'Little Dragon' has a diverse mix of styles and substance but can musically feel a touch sparse in places. A good introduction to a group who have the potential to do very well for themselves.