Words: Ellie Desborough
Little Dragon’s first EP, and first offering since last year’s fifth album ‘Season High’, delivers loved-up synth-pop that wouldn’t feel out of place at a modern-day ‘80s disco club night. Hailing from Sweden, the group have often been eclipsed by their own collaborators, the likes of Big Boi and Gorillaz.
The opening title track, the record’s lead single, intertwines the vocals of Yukimi Nagano with drummer Erik Bodin, adding a playful narrative to the gentle house bop. Its persistence is hypnotic, with deep bass synth grooves punctuating the hook. “Do you wanna be my girl?” the Dragons chant, “I wanna be your man.” Nagano has explained the EP is about “the force of love, whether that is while you’re dancing at a disco forgetting where you are, or just staring at the moon on a clear night”, and the track reflects that notion.
Second song ‘In My House’ is almost six minutes long and, regrettably, feels like it. Arguably the most experimental track on the EP, and swaying from a conventional pop structure, it never really reaches a climax, so any attempt to create ambience with its extensive outro is lost. As the vocals take a back seat, the relentless percussive instrumentals run the risk of monotony – especially following the glittery ‘Lover Chanting’.
However, third track ‘Timothy’ delivers what Little Dragon do best, with Nagano’s sultry vocals at the forefront. “Play your song ’til the break of dawn” she sings, enveloped in an infectious groove reminiscent of soulful discotheque artists such as Loose Ends. It’s the kind of laidback head-bopper you would expect to hear in some low-lit bar, as you sip on something as sweet as the message behind the track, before you hit the dancefloor.
The ‘Lover Chanting’ EP is, admittedly, inoffensive and low-risk. However, it’s a solid enough attempt at breaking away from the ‘band that does collaborations’ tag – a hard task for a group that’s perhaps most notable for working with Gorillaz – and, overall, it’s mission accomplished for Little Dragon.