10 May 2011
listen: wounded rhymes
Story by Andrew Reinholds
The artist who rose to fame on the Twilight:New Moon soundtrack Lykee Li has a new album.
It’s been three years since Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson announced her arrival with the critically acclaimed, yet largely ignored album, Youth Novels. In fact it was the dubious distinction of being included on the Twighlight: New Moon soundtrack that gave her exposure to a much bigger (but presumably younger) audience.
Now she’s back, with her second long player, Wounded Rhymes, which has moved her on leaps and bounds from that debut, which finds her in a far darker mood. Following the collapse of her relationship, Li relocated from her native Sweden to record the album in Los Angeles, and the result is startling.
It’s an album of contrasts, a weird pop gem, with torch-like long songs alternating between a Spector like wall-of-sound anchored with driving percussion and primitive drumming; through to wintry folk, even garage rock at times.
Her voice too shows remarkable range and stylistic dexterity – reminiscent of The Shangri-Las on the doo-wop lament of ‘Unrequited Love to siren Dusty Springfield on what I believe to be the album’s strongest track, the achingly beautiful ‘Love Out of Lust’ and even Stevie Nicks on the rocky opener ‘Youth Knows No Pain’ where she sets her stall early with a thrilling call to arms (“come on honey, give yourself completely, do it all, though you can’t believe it, youth knows no pain”).
Lyrically she is at times a real firebrand, exuding incredible strength and confidence (see the couplet from first single ‘Get Some’ “like a shotgun needs an outcome, I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some”) which is delivered as more of a challenge than a promise.
In a year that has already delivered us an excellent PJ Harvey album and which is rumoured to promise a new release from the mighty Kate Bush, who for me, of all the strong artists Li most resembles, this new record will sit comfortably among these releases come the end of 2011. This should be a huge record – and it will be richly deserved.