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Lykke Li - The Swedish princess's attention grabbing pop extravaganza,
This review is from: Wounded Rhymes (Audio CD)
Take your eye of the ball for one moment and suddenly early in the season Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson better known as Sweden's Lykke Li scores a very special goal. Indeed only three months into to the year she may well have recorded one of the "pop" albums of 2011 with "Wounded Rhymes" and proved yet again that the current crop of diminutive female singers (see Janelle Monae) pack a real wallop. Li is described in the blurb to accompany this album as "a Kung-fu Marianne Faithful, and an armed Nancy Sinatra on peyote" and thats fair enough as a nice bit of marketing; in fact if you were to add The Ronettes into the equation and a sprinkling of her Swedish chums The Knife you would be in the ball park in terms of influences. She is nonetheless very much her her own woman and this album has a nice dark slant to temper its more overt poppier instincts. Check out opener "Youth knows no pain" which starts with huge percussion, almost a Charlatans style key board riff and a delicious vocal by Li giving it a sixties feel which for some reason cries out to soundtrack a Austin Powers film. The single "Get some" is completely infectious and riotous where Li informs us over tribal drum that she is" like a shotgun who needs a outcome" and one would sincerely hope that the result would be a huge hit single. The latest single off the album however is "I follow rivers" which starts with a xylophone tinkle and pounds deep into you skull with a hammering pop sensibility and a daft lyric, while "Rich kid blues" could happily soundtrack a James Bond film.
Li's strengths also go far beyond the well crafted pop song and in "Unrequited Love" she echoes the do wop themes of the Shangri Las with an aching ballad and if its possible the six minute plus "I know places" is even lovelier and one of the albums highlights. Alternatively "Jerome" has that great Fever Ray pounding quality to it and once it finishes press the repeat button not least to replay that sultry vocal. Like last years "Go" album by Jonsi "Wounded Rhymes" is and immediate and accessible and jam packed with songs with enough hooks to make the whole affair attention-grabbing, memorable, easy to dance to and completely irresistible. As with all great pop music it also has hidden depth and a slightly wicked and defiant core. Thus unlike her first album her sophomore record is more cutting than cute, qualities which are drawn out by the excellent production of Björn Yttling who proves himself the Nordic equivalent of Phil Spector on "Sadness is a blessing". Lykke Li is frankly an adorable pop star and if this album doesn't turn your unrequited love into an obsession you really need to have your pulse checked.