Little Dragon Season High Loma Vista
Little Dragon’s frontwoman Yukimi Nagano has described a desire to escape from grey and rainy days in the band’s hometown of Gothenburg with their music. Indeed, electronic music has always been an escape route for those who colour outside the lines. Across the world, dance music has bloomed in warehouses, locked away in basements and concealed deep within a subculture for queers, for people of colour and for those on the outskirts of that which was deemed acceptable and accepted.
Little Dragon’s fifth LP Season High could soundtrack these margins. The album’s centrepiece Should I drapes Nagano’s silky vocals over a glistening synth riff and off-the-beaten-path percussion that waltzes with folk rhythms. Elsewhere, Push bounces along buoyantly above Nagano’s sometimes breathy, sometimes soulful delivery of a topline that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Candi Staton album. “Waiting for the big win/ You want the world to know”, Nagano taunts, and it’s hard not to vogue along.
However, as Little Dragon pluck influences from various genres and eras, the strength of the band’s core electropop sound comes into question. When Nagano’s voice fades behind the production, it becomes clear now more than ever that her instantly-recognisable vocals are what holds Little Dragon together.
But Season High works regardless. The broad palette of styles and influences it represents come together in a colourful soundtrack to escape the bleak standards against which each day of 2017 has been judged. The three years since their last album Nabuma Rubberband were years filled with political unrest, the rise of the unbarred and unjust, and an unsettling uncertainty about where we’re heading. Season High is about leaving it behind for now, but not forever. As Nagano sings in Celebrate, “Don’t escape love, celebrate/ Fading every fear into rainbow tears/ For tonight, don’t be uptight”.
As if summoning a full dancefloor misty with bodies and inhibitions, she repeats her refrain: “Let love drip”.