Little Dragon, 'Ritual Union' (EMI)

7
Ritual Union
Critical Mass
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Label: Peacefrog/EMI

by Marc Hogan

Since this Swedish electro-soul quartet's slinky 2009 album, Machine Dreams, singer Yukimi Nagano has emerged as a Nicki Minaj for pop's smart set, stealing the scene with various guest spots (Gorillaz, Raphael Saadiq, Maximum Balloon). Little Dragon's third full-length deepens the group's down-tempo mix of icy techno and smoldering R&B. If Ritual Union does moody ambiguity better than meaningful hooks ("Wonderin' of a white dress"? Me, too!), well, Nagano's smoky, pillow-soft purr speaks volumes.

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