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coverpic flag Sweden - Full Moon 178 - 03/19/11

Lykke Li
Wounded Rhymes
LL Recordings

Lykke Li, or Lykke Li Timotej Zachrisson, surfaced as a talented artist with her debut album, the acclaimed Youth Novels in 2008, just before she turned 22. It was an album presenting modern and creative, fresh and bubbling (electro) pop music with a twist. Her debut was produced by famed Swedish pop producer Lasse Mårtén and Björn Yttling (the Björn from indie outfit Peter, Björn and John). Yet again she's been working with Yttling, and the result is astonishing.

Lykke Li was born into an artistic home; her mother (Kärsti Stiege) being a former member of early 80s pop-punk band Tant Strul, while her father (Johan Zachrisson, A.K.A. Zilverzurfarn, eng.: Silver Surfer) was in the late-70s/80s/90s (and still going!) punk-prog-reggae band Dag Vag. Raised in the south of Sweden, via Stockholm, then abroad to Portugal, Morocco, Nepal, India, ending up in Brooklyn, New York. Going exotic places, eh? Maybe that's what reflects from her music. Wounded Rhymes holds ten tracks, and here's hardly a dead end. No fillers, all thrillers. From the opening "Youth Knows No Pain", with its wide screened, swaying organ and whiplash rhythms. Wounded Rhymes holds pain, suffering, and love and lust. "Get Some" is this year's "Lust For Life". The heartfelt and profound "Sadness Is A Blessing", and the beautiful and long-stretched "I Know Places" are (two of) the best tracks. The latter being the album's key track. "Jerome" somehow reminds me of 1980s Indi-pop princess Sheila Chandra (of Monsoon) blended with Liz Fraser and her Cocteau Twins. "Unrecruited Love" sounds like being a cunningly re-written/remixed part from the soundtrack from Grease! The new brew.

Lykke Li's music is about bittersweetness or happysadness. Like a soundtrack for mending a broken heart. Yet, the songs (and lyrics) aren't all bleak and sorrowful. It's rather melancholy, yes, but with some emotional power of the positive kind. This is elegant pop music for a neat lounge party, where you can switch to and from a delicately half-lit dance floor, and darker corners. Dimmed lights, dark velvet curtains, and with perfect long-drinks.

Wounded Rhymes is a shining and sparkling piece of work, quite near being brilliant.

Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Lykke Li article/review: I Never Learn.

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