Last week Sweedish quintet Little Dragon dropped their fourth studio album Nabuma Rubberband
. The record is toned down on the electro pop and revved up on the sexual energy, floating more towards the realm of trip hop and nineties R&B. It's certainly a departure from the less vampy, more clean R&B pop of 2011's Ritual Union
, but the 90s R&B vibe was no accident. Lead singer Yukimi Nagano points to a freezing Gothenburg winter of listening to Janet Jackson's 90s slow jams on repeat as a jumping off point for the record. For the band it was a place of unfamiliarity that led them to explore the uncharted territory of the lustfully slower dance beat. Make no mistake, the record is soulful, sexy, slow, and not without the explosive energy of motion for even a second.
Nagano's ethereal vocals are without a doubt the centerpiece of the record. Her soulful murmurs ground the echoing percussion in a thick air of erotica, and her aerated roars cut through the radiating bass with breathy precision. The album opens with "Mirror", a slow and steady bass beat, and Nagano delicately crooning the temptress, "See how you makin' me blue/You know you're better than that/Staring at me playin' the fool/You musta lost your mind." Track two, and we're back in more familiar Little Dragon territory with the constant high energy beat and accompanying electro chords of "Klapp Klapp". Move down to title track "Nabuma Rubberband" and Nagano's croon has a crisp strength, balancing the rubber-like boom of the baseline, before diving head first into the technified sizzler "Only One". The whole sound of the record listens something like a Janet Jackson 90's slow jam in bed with Frank Ocean's Pyramids
and sky high on some very potent Portishead.
Get Nabuma Rubberband
, and then get someone to dance close to.
Watch below for the Klapp, Klapp video.