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Little Dragon
Nabuma Rubberband - LOMA VISTA
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Kathy Iandoli on July 1, 2014

 

Little Dragon

Little Dragon are placed in a bit of a conundrum with their fourth studio album Nabuma Rubberband. When the band first emerged in 2007 with their self-titled debut, the electronic music movement wasn’t yet filtered, funneled and repackaged as EDM. Nabuma finds them looking to expand by experimenting with various styles—from the bossa nova undertones of opener “Mirror” to the zippy electro-guitar licks of “Klapp Klapp.” Things smooth out toward the middle but suffer from over-diversification, with “Pretty Girls’” ’80s synth vibe giving way to trance-y trip-hoppy cuts like “Underbart” and “Cat Rider” that ultimately transform into electro-pop in “Paris.” The title track marks a movement to the mellow that carries to the end, sailing over the abstract with “Only One” and “Pink Cloud” and attempting to rise up into friendlier territory with “Let Go.” But by then the album is done. Little Dragon didn’t have acts like The Weeknd or Banks to compete with when the “unique” lane was clearer even three years back with Ritual Union, so it’s inevitable that the playing field would be totally different for Nabuma Rubberband. As the group attempts to find their vibe, they test the waters gracefully. Perhaps next time, though, they’ll be slightly more focused.