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Review: Little Dragon back with soulful 'New Me, Same Us'

This cover image released by Ninja Tune shows "New Me, Same US" by Little Dragon. (Ninja Tune via AP)
March 27, 2020 - 1:37 PM

Little Dragon, “New Me, Same Us” (Ninja Tune)

As indicated by the title of their latest album, “New Me, Same Us,” the members of Swedish four-piece Little Dragon may have found themselves on separate personal journeys, but their sound is as cohesive as ever. And the group is back to doing what they’ve consistently done — that is, capturing a familiar pop, R&B and electronic sound by way of perfectly off-kilter instrumentation.

There are the straight-forward gems. That includes first single “Hold On” — a party-starter with a disco vibe, and “Another Lover,” a conventional R&B track made irresistible thanks to Yukimi Nagano’s longing vocals.

But there’s always a surprise waiting, too. And that’s what makes Little Dragon, and their latest album, so special. “Rush,” for example, starts in a cold clatter of percussion, then seconds later drops into the most mellow of mood-boosting island grooves. It’s magic, complements of Håkan Wirenstarnd (keyboards), Fredrik Wallin (bass) and Erik Bodin (drums and percussion).

The details make a difference on “New Fiction,” with its other-worldly chimes, combined with a head-bopping beat. Despite the title, “Are You Feeling Sad?” is a peppy anthem — light on words, and heavy on layer after layer of feel-good sounds and effects.

It’s easy to lose track of lyrics in the waves of music, but “New Me, Same Us” stays on topic — circling around the idea of change and the passage of time, a sentiment captured beautifully on “Where You Belong.”

After more than two decades together, Little Dragon’s “New Me, Same Us” proves the band is right where it needs to be.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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