When looking at the stylistic jump that Swedish electropop adventurers Little Dragon have taken between their previous LP (2011’s breakthroughRitual Union) and this, their fourth album, it might best be explained in cinematic terms. Whereas the former is a widescreen, technicolour affair,Nabuma Rubberbandis a pristine black-and-white, shot in 4:3.
It’s by no means a lesser effort, but it’s certainly darker and more focused in on the grittier aspects of what the band does. Lead single ‘Klapp Klapp’ may be an infectious alt-pop gem – not to mention one of the year’s best tracks – but it’s admittedly somewhat of a misnomer if you’re attempting to understand the greater ideas and sonic environment of the album.
For that, it’s best you look into ‘Paris’ or the album’s title track, where the downtempo beats and the buzzing low-end synthesiser provide a different take on Little Dragon’s established sound. It’s a move that will keep old fans interested and provide just enough room for new fans to investigate.
Although some parts drag and there is certainly room for improvement, Nabuma Rubberband excels on the back of its effort and its boldness. A worthwhile investment.
Nabuma Rubberband is out now through Because Music/Warner.