Has there ever been a band willing to blow up expectations more than Little Dragon? Ever since dropping their self-titled debut way back in 2007, the group has constantly challenged the concept of genre. They've delved into neo-soul, R&B, electronic, rock, dance, jazz, house and everything else under the sun in their pursuit of the perfect groove. They've blown up their formula once again for their latest effort, New Me, Same Us, but this time they've reached back to eras past to continue in the reinvention of their sound.
Leading off with the stone cold jam "Hold On," the funky R&B/dance hybrid gives you an idea of what's to come as the band crafts a catchy groove and singer Yukimi Nagano's vocal paints a hopeful picture. Expectations are subverted by the time the next song, "Rush," comes through with its glitchy, tribal beat. Disrupting what the listener expects next seems to be the album's theme as each track takes listeners to a place they didn't expect. From the searing, Nabuma Rubberband-era R&B of "Another Lover" to the subdued, downtempo house of "Every Rain" and the free-for-all good time of "Are You Feeling Sad?," the quartet keeps us guessing and grooving as they guide us through the fields of their creative vision.
Though each track seems to have a life of its own, they all somehow fit perfectly together as well. If we're being honest, it's probably one of their best sequenced albums as the tracklist ebbs and flows from each song to the next. That's why it's appropriate that the 11-song set ends on the soulful bounce of "Where You Belong," goes just a tad bit pop with "Stay Right Here" and then dissipates into the slightly jazzy cut "Water."
The band, unfortunately, had to put their world tour on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak currently gripping the world. However, music lovers everywhere should be happy that they went ahead with the album's roll out. It's exactly the soundtrack we need as we face these tense and uncertain times.
Little Dragon New Me, Same Us [Amazon][Apple Music][Google Play]