Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband

Album Review by Chris Buckle | 01 May 2014
Album title: Nabuma Rubberband
Artist: Little Dragon
Label: Because Music
Release date: 12 May

The more layers Little Dragon shed, the more interesting their sound arguably becomes, with fourth album Nabuma Rubberband containing some of their sparsest yet most intoxicating work to date. It employs a palette broadly in-keeping with predecessor Ritual Union, yet here the parts add up to a more nourishing whole: shinier, funkier, more daring.

Opener Mirror sets a slinky benchmark, leading with minimal components (slow, muffled beats; Yukimi Nagano’s supple vocals; sparkly, sporadic synths) before taking a subtle upswing. Both here and across the rest of the album, Little Dragon’s sound is simultaneously nostalgic and alien: on the one hand, influences from Prince to R&B production duo Jimmy Jams and Terry Lewis are liberally invoked, yet the band’s ambitions are kept resolutely future-focussed, never succumbing to the backwards-facing 80s-worship that’s snared so many of late. Though the overarching restraint and precision might render Nabuma Rubberband too glassy and impersonal for some tastes, numerous others will find themselves transfixed.