The Needle Drop

Little Dragon- Ritual Union

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Little Dragon's third album comes after a move toward accessibility on 2009's machine dreams, but doesn't go further down that path. Making things simpler to gain a wider audience just seems like something a band in Little Dragons' shoes would do, though. They've had plenty of opportunities to collaborate with some pretty high-profile artists in the past year or so: Big Boi, SBTRKT, the Gorillaz. Rather than turning up the volume, Ritual Union brings things down to a low and sensual simmer. Every track here is backed up with simple, repetitive grooves that grow as the song progresses. The synths aren't as loud or bright as they were in '09, but they still sound fantastic.

Of course, this is all topped off with frontwoman Yukumi's fantastic voice. She really lays it all out on this album, lending the music tons of personality and emotion.

It's less instant than these guys have been in the past, but revisiting this album to see it unfold was very worth it for me. This album doesn't put out, it pulls in.