07 July, 2008

I really Lykke you

(Please don't shoot me. Wordplay is my kryptonite - along with laughter.)

I really do like Lykke Li. She hails from Stockholm, Sweden and her simple indie folk songs are enchanting in their way. They're mellow, with random (and often perfect) instrumentation that reminds me of Bjork's music. At the same time, the sound is folk with very clean lines (very Swedish in this regard). I have to wait until August for Youth Novels to be released in the United States; so, until then, I will live with the Little Bit - EP.

Here's the break down. There are four songs, beginning with "Little Bit". The first lyric captured me immediately:

Hands down I'm too proud for love, but with eyes shut it's you I'm thinking of.

It sounds like there's cowbell in the background along with plenty of other percussive noises. The melody stays fairly electronic on "Little Bit", and I find myself following Li's voice like an instrument. There are some vocal quirks that add personality to the song. For example, she draws out the "la" in love, turning it into a "la la la la love".

"Dance Dance Dance" bounces with more of that unpredictable percussion, and espouses the sentiment of T. Rex's "Cosmic Dancer" (it's okay, in fact, it's IMPORTANT to dance when you feel like it). "Words could never make up for what you do" is the line that really says it all. If your hips aren't moving, do you really like the song?

"Everybody But Me" pulls in some regal sounding horns over Lykke harmonizing with...well...Lykke. The layering gives a fairly black and white song all of its shades of grey, adding distinction to a tune that could easily be lost in the midst of all the other shiny tunes floating across the Atlantic.

"Time Flies" uses the highest, most ethereal of Li's vocals over heavy piano to create something that sounds like it was crafted by faeries. The drums and piano have a finality that is only slightly noticeable in Li's tiny voice.

In the end, Little Bit - EP is consistent and distinctive without sounding too strange to be enjoyable. I would definitely be shaking my hips to a couple of the songs, while alternately laughing and shaking my head at the others. In August, we'll see if Youth Novels can outdo this extended play, and if Lykke can step out of the shadow of other Swedish alternative acts and play to her strengths: witty lyrics and unpredictable instrumentation.

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