LITTLE DRAGON New Me, Same Us gets 6.5/10

Little Dragon
New Me, Same Us
Ninja Tune


On their first album for Ninja Tune, Little Dragon gathers the creative energy of their usual toolkit of electro-funk, to produce one of their more impressive solo projects.

Vocalist Yukimi Nagano is always immaculate. Throughout New Me, Same Us, her vocal performances form a dynamic union with Fredrik Wallin’s bass. This union forms the foundation of New Me, Same Us as each song pulsates with rhythm and energy.

The album is a welcome departure from past efforts and shows a refinement of their ‘retro-futurist’ aesthetic. We see the group let go a little and experiment with their overall sound and lyricism.

Highlight Kids is the embodiment of this experimentation. The song feels playful and angelic through its featuring of synth and reverb, yet Nagano’s performance and lyrics introduce an element of melancholy to the track. It combines their usual polish with some of the complexity and innovation heard in collaborative works such as Nagano’s much-vaunted feature on Empire Ants by Gorillaz.

Despite the beautiful production and flawless performances throughout, New Me, Same Us is not anything we have not already heard from the group. The composition lacks the raw vulnerability and emotional depth that propels most of Little Dragon’s collaborative efforts.

By not utilising and expanding on their capacity for more complex, compelling material this new album serves only to showcase the group’s potential, leaving the record as a whole feeling somewhat flat and uninspired.

Little Dragon would do well to forsake their technical precision in favour of a more free-flowing sound, embracing the organic, soulful and unpredictable nature of their music.