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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Little Dragon – ‘Test’

Written by Joseph Scott

A friend of mine recently asked me, stomach story “What is it with Swedish bands and ‘heartbeat’? Both Annie and Robyn have tracks called ‘Heartbeat’, stuff while The Knife wanted to be different and called a track ‘Heartbeats’.” Now, obviously the track I’m about to review is not called ‘Heartbeat’ or even ‘Heartbeats’, but the fact that my British friend could not only name three contemporary Swedish groups but also three of their songs without feeling as if he was exposing a guilty pleasure indicates how much our opinion Swedish music has changed (Ace of Base, anyone?).

Little Dragon
are more Dance-orientated and a good deal less retro than the ‘Heartbeat-ers’, but still know how to craft a Pop song you can be proud to love. ‘Test’ opens with a clanging not dissimilar to the 1950s musique concrete of Stockhausen, as if to remind the listener of electronica’s avant-garde origins, before immediately introducing today’s most irreverent application of such Classical techniques: the 4/4 Dance beat. Punctuated by the most minimal Ska-styled guitar/keyboard I’ve ever encountered (is that just one note?), driven by a Dub-bassline that becomes beautifully indistiguishable from the kick drum and featuring a Jazz interlude, like all great Pop songs ‘Test’ shamelessly steals from the best.

However, the undeniable highlight of the track is singer Yukimi. Recalling Matthew Herbert’s work with Dani Siciliano, her multitracked laidback delivery effortlessly transports the listener to the centre of a dancefloor at an indeterminate post-midnight hour. Soulful without forced vocal gymnastics and Bluesy without being cliched, much like the music itself, her voice is able to take in all that 20th century music had to offer and exhale something cohesive, contemporary and copious.

A chic dancefloor-filler.

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