sat 20/07/2024

CD: Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

CD: Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

Swedish popster turns wild animal for second album

Elemental: 'Wounded Rhymes' by Lykke Li

“Don’t pull your pants before I go down… Like the shotgun, I need an outcome, I'm your prostitute, you gonna get some”. The lyrics of “Get Some”, the first single from globetrotting Swedish popster Lykke Li’s second album, are unforgettable. The album itself, Wounded Rhymes, is pretty unforgettable too.

Her first album, 2008’s Youth Novels, was great – quirky, electro-assisted rhythmic pop with wee hints of Toyah. But Wounded Rhymes is something else. What seemed tame is now wild, unleashed, closer to her whirlwind live persona. She’s said that the close-to two years of touring after Youth Novels almost finished her off. Once that cycle was complete, she retreated to the California desert and hoovered up Alan Lomax's field recordings as part of preparing for Wounded Rhymes. She recently told me that she wanted to be Karen Dalton, the intense and doomed folk singer. She also said she loves Bo Diddley. Those are here, but so are the melodrama of Shadow Morton's Shangri-Las' productions, soaring melodies that draw from gospel and the wheezy garage thud and organ of Camden grime-rockers Gallon Drunk. But most of all, it’s a feral energy that shines through Björn Yttling’s (of Peter, Björn and John) crisp production.

“Get Some” – which Lykke Li says is a “head trip” and not about sex – is the obvious entry point to this wild ride. “Youth Knows No Pain” is as upfront, just as catchy, its cavernous sound hauling you in. On the gospel-slanted “I Follow Rivers” she declares she’s a “deep sea baby”. “Jerome’s” booming percussion, ever-building atmosphere and updated girl-group melody is wonderful. The title track takes this into outer space. More intimately, the solo acoustic “I Know Place” is so bleak and affecting that Karen Dalton would’ve recognised herself in it. “Sadness is blessing, sadness is my boyfriend” she declares on the haunting title track. The elemental Wounded Rhymes feels important.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the video for Lykke Li’s “Get Some”

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