Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lykke Li--Youth Novels (2008)

Artist-Lykke Li
Album-Youth Novels
Release Date-Jan 30, 2008
Genre/Style-Indie-Pop Swedish Pop/Rock

Official site-

Biography-Swedish indie pop artist Lykke Li Zachrisson (better known as Lykke Li) grabbed the attention of bloggers the world over in the early 2000s with a handful of catchy and genuinely impressive retro-chic singles made available on her MySpace profile. Armed with sensuous, barely-there vocals and backed up by a quirky, bass-heavy, ever-so-slightly lo-fi sound (courtesy of Peter Bjorn and John's Björn Yttling, who produced her first discs), Lykke Li released her debut EP, a three-track affair entitled Little Bit, on her fledgling label, LL Recordings, in 2007. The disc's title track went on to earn a good deal of buzz among indie pop-centric bloggers and, perhaps to a greater extent, the mainstream Swedish music press soon after it was released. Lykke Li made her first appearance on Swedish MTV that year, performing an acoustic version of "Tonight" on Phaser, and the video for "Little Bit" was nominated for Best Video at that year's Swedish Grammy Awards. Her debut full-length, Youth Novels, was slated for release in 2008.

Review-Synthesizers, piano, theremin, xylophone and strings hypnotize as a woman gently recites these instructions, recalling Laurie Anderson's mellow art-house music. If you are reading this, chances are you have never heard of Lykke Li, a twenty two year old, multi-talented musician from Sweden. Youth Novels, her debut, is an amalgamation of different styles; Feist, Glass Candy and El Perro del Mar will surely be in good company.

While the aforementioned "Melodies and Desires" and "This Trumpet in My Head" serve as angelic spoken-word pieces, the rest of Youth Novels is slightly different. "I'm Good I'm Gone" is an accurate representation of Lykke Li's disco and electronic-influenced sound; looped piano, thick drums and hand claps carve out fun grooves worthy of heavy radio rotation. "Let it Fall" stutters and swaggers with sunshine melodies and infectious bass, contradicting the teary-eyed lyrics ("I like the way tears hit my cheeks"). The rhythmic quasi-rapping only contributes more to the playful spirit, surpassing "1, 2, 3, 4" in terms of catchiness.

Björn Yttling and Lasse Mårtén's production should not go without mention. Similar to fellow Swede El Perro del Mar, the main focus of Youth Novels is the human voice. Airy and cherubic, Lykke seems to hover over the music thanks to spacious vocal reverb. That isn't to say that the arrangements are rendered frivolous, though; each instrument clearly rings with a deft sense of capacity. Sitar is used subtly in unison with the vocal pattern on "Hanging High," while balancing folk and electro with ease on "Little Bit".

Like most accomplished pop records, Youth Novels serves as both a vehicle for well-written hooks and artistic integrity; Lykke Li manages to juxtapose elements of popular, electronic and folk musics without mishap. She shows quite a bit of promise here, and will probably garner more recognition and acclaim as time goes on. Hopefully, that won't mean iPod commercials and Brian Williams' endorsement.

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1 comment:

Michelle said...

I <3 Lykke Li!! I think that she has an amazing voice. Her songs are all so beautiful I dont think that there is song that I dont like. She actually did a bunch of interviews that were really awesome that people should check out.