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Lykke Li
I Never Learn - LL/ATLANTIC
FILTER Grade: 86%

By Ken Scrudato on June 18, 2014


Lykke Li

Where Natasha Khan was the hipster Wood Nymph, Lykke Li has always played the Downcast Damsel, howling out achingly from the castle keep. And third album I Never Learn (completing, we are told, a trilogy of sorts) is once again all august pronouncements of loneliness echoing across endless stretches of icy emotional desolation. If you seek happiness, you are vigorously urged to look elsewhere. But the words would be perhaps somewhat unremarkable without the grandiose sweep of sonic majesty that surrounds them. Indeed, some of the sentiments (“I’m never going to love again,” she desponds…but, oh, please—yes she will) lack the visceral profundity the music begs. But the songs still pierce like arrows tipped with the poison of betrayal and deceit; Li, to be sure, is possessed of a very old soul and an incurably gothic heart. Certainly she makes no concealment of her crepuscular predilections—the opening and title track is basically Peter Murphy’s “A Strange Kind of Love.” And surely The Cure and Cocteau Twins have contributed generously to the glorious lavishness of her soundscapes. Not that we wouldn’t be first in line to storm the citadel of Lykke Li’s despair and carry her off to a place of safety; but for now, this will do just fine.

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