Little Dragon – Slugs of Love [Import SPLATTER VINYL] – New LP
Swedish 4-piece Little Dragon – spearheaded by vocalist Yukimi Nagano – return with a new and utterly beguiling blend of avant pop on their album “Slugs of Love” on Ninja Tune, inviting outright legend Damon Albarn (Gorillaz, Blur) and rapper JID (J Cole / Dreamville) for collabs. The universally loved and GRAMMY-nominated band paved the way for the likes of Billie Eilish, Steve Lacy, Solange and The Internet with their experimental and utterly compelling approach to pop music, inspiring the new generation to push boundaries and explore new sonic territories. Unsurprisingly then, Little Dragon are referenced as the benchmark for electronic pop by a host of totemic artists such as Tyler The Creator, Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak.
Consisting of school friends Erik Bodin (drums and percussion), Fredrik Wallin (bass), Håkan Wirenstarnd (keyboards) and Yukimi Nagano (vocals), the band have gone on to become one of the most consistent, respected and universally loved bands of recent times. Recorded in the musical oasis of their Gothenburg Studio — the same studio they have worked in for almost 20 years — on ‘Slugs Of Love’ they bring their distinctive blend of soulful pop, electronics and R&B — all underpinned by lead singer Yukimi’s instantly recognisable vocals — to the fore across 11 tracks that encapsulate the full range of their diverse individual musical influences.
Describing the process behind the album, they explain that “we’ve been exploring different ways to collaborate and communicate. Dissolving patterns and making new ones. Nurturing our ability to curiously press down keys, to bang — sometimes hard sometimes gently — on different things, strumming strings, recording sounds and investigating the limits for how much or little a sound can be tweaked… Together we have developed, replayed, danced to, cried and laughed to this music as it has evolved forwards, backwards, sideways and all around, but now finally as a complete masterpiece… This feels like our finest work yet. We are very proud.”
The record features a guest turn from Damon Albarn (Gorillaz/Blur) on “Glow”, a “slow dripping glittery ride to a daydream in wonderland” and a collaboration with respected East Atlanta rapper JID (who is signed with J. Cole’s Dreamville label) on the previously released single “Stay”, a song which charts the ups and downs of a relationship. They are the latest in the band’s long history of high-profile collaborations which has included working with the likes of Kali Uchis, KAYTRANADA, Brittany Howard, Flying Lotus, BADBADNOTGOOD, Moses Sumney, Kelsey Lu, Gorillaz, Big Boi (OutKast), SBTRKT, Yo-Yo Ma and many more. They additionally count the likes of SZA, Erykah Badu, Anderson .Paak, Diplo, Flume, Ava DuVerney, Ali Wong, Syd, Disclosure, LaKeith Stanfield, The xx and many more as fans, a further attestation to their status as one of the most influential bands of their era.
The album also contains the previously released titular single “Slugs Of Love” — a joyous, upbeat track which the band say they imagine “being played by a bunch of youngsters with rubberboots in different sparkling colors” — which arrived alongside an official video also directed by Unlimited Time Only and featured the band themselves. Elsewhere is the uplifting “Tumbling Dice” — a track that urges the listener to savor the time they have: a “cheers for this moment, for this life” and a reminder to “celebrate every breath, we will be gone in a flash.” — and “Gold”, “a reflection on the riches that money can't buy,” the band refract pop hits of the 90’s and 00’s with the Whitney Houston channeling refrain of the chorus laying over a sluggish, synth heavy groove.
Their previous full-length album, ‘New Me, Same Us’, was released on Ninja Tune in 2020 and lauded by the likes of the New York Times, NPR, Pitchfork, The Guardian, Mixmag, Crack Magazine and many more, with the band also joining NPR Music for an intimate Tiny Desk (Home) Concert filmed at their long-term home-built studio in Gothenburg, Sweden. Entirely self-produced and recorded at the pioneering Swedish band’s studio, the album hit #5 on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart in the US, with Mixmag calling it “a futuristic record bursting with lush textures and elevated by lead singer Yukimi Nagano’s sublime vocals” and the Guardian finding them on “on deliciously soulful form”. They followed up the release with their “New Me, Same Us Remix EP” which featured the likes of Midland, Octo Octa, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Ela Minus and many more.