Little Dragon kick off their fifth full-length album Season High with Celebrate, a big 80’s sounding power pop song with as much punch as a Prince song, while strutting seamlessly around a Chinese-inspired lead synth line and a male/female vocal pairing, similar to gloom rockers The XX. This eastern flavour arises later in Should I, containing interesting trip-hop rhythms underneath singer Yukimi Nagano’s nonchalant vocal refrain “But should I care?”
High centres around a soft 90’s hip-hop synth loop before evolving into a mellow melodic number, as does Butterflies, where slow, whirling synths allow for Nagano to delve into a more soulful, Laura Mvula-esque territory. Don’t Cry meanwhile could easily pass for FKA Twigs, with high vocals over airy keyboard chords.
The Pop Life is certainly more upbeat, with a slightly lo-fi euro pop edge, while the arcade game soundscapes and faux-gospel chords of lead single Sweet sound like a Crystal Castles/Grimes collaboration, written for a clothing store playlist. There is a similar feel in Strobe Light, but leans more towards synth lines of The Eurhythmics. Push ventures into more industrial sounds but features the same beat as Strobe Light in the chorus.
Gravity closes the album in a more experimental fashion. A pulsing electro bass drum and sparse, echoed chords create a grittier take on fellow synth-pop star Twin Shadow, before giving way to an unexpected key change in the chorus. Sadly, this song could summarise Season High as a whole – full of catchy melodies and interesting sounds, but overall remaining dynamically stagnant.
Edited by Ginny Wong