Swedish electronic band Little Dragon have been known for their distinctive soulful, trip-hop sound for nearly three decades. After several years of discovering new sounds, the band fully returns to their rich and dreamy origins on their seventh full-length album, Slugs of Love on July 7, 2023. Showcasing their unique sound, the album focuses on themes of love and relationships emphasized by lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano’s mesmerizing voice and an innovate electronic jazz aesthetic.
This hypnotic merge of electropop, R&B, and trip-hop opens with the ‘Amöban’s promising intro, “Welcome / We’re gonna whistle a little melody for you / It goes something like this.” For the next 41 minutes, Little Dragon presents fans with a velvety, nostalgic-ridden album reminiscent of their earlier ’90s tranquility. The second track, ‘Frisco’, dives deeper into the tenderness the band finally reached with their compelling sound. “If I fall in and relax, will I float? / Let longing release so / I see the whole deep blue sky.”
The title track, ‘Slugs of Love’, is held together by its playful melodies and effortless groove without pulling listeners away mid-song. Little Dragon encourages fans to indulge in finding pleasure wherever they can rather than concerning themselves with possible outcomes. “Slugs of love in search of freedom / Life-tasting, these true believers,” Nagano’s husky voice sings, “Endless ecstasy, feel it all.”
The ninth track, ‘Glow’, features Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, who collaborated with Little Dragon on Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach (2010). Albarn’s hushed vocals blends with Nagano’s serene rasp to perfectly encompass the ablum’s theme of nostalgia towards valued memories. “By the way I wish I’d been / There for you / When the northern lights / Got brighter.”
Slugs of Love closes with the hidden treasure ‘Easy Falling’, a gentle melody that leans on vulnerability to provide an easy escape. Paired with breezy chords and soulful vocals, the song demonstrates Little Dragon’s undeniable range within the album and as artists. “As I lay in the shade, unafraid / For the very first time / Ready to feel something real.”