Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

by James Bray Rating:8.5 Release Date:2011-02-28

Wounded Rhymes is Lykke Li's second album and she provides us with yet more sophisticated, avant-garde, pop-music for adults. This album is just as accessible as her first but her melodies are now more punchy and assertive as opposed to the slow burning appeal of 2008's Youth Novels. The production on this album is more industrial and urbane rather the organic, demure feel of her debut. Basically, her first album was implicitly good, while this is explicit.

Wounded Rhymes is full of little night club stompers like 'Youth Knows No Pain' and 'Rich Kid Blues'. These tracks are indie electronica coupled with Lykke Li's sweet pop sensibility. The rhythm section is to the fore on nearly all of the songs, and the prevalent use of beach percussion is reminiscent of fellow Swedes The Knife. The overall feel of wistful electro-pop and the use of syncopated beats and melodies on some songs is evocative of Robyn, Zola Jesus or even Bjork. Lykke Li is telling us that she is no ingenue, she been crossed by lovers and swaggers on in spite of it. This idea of the wounded poet isn't mawkish at all though, and it works well on the album.
Although this record is predominantly electronic, there are still plenty of the textural analogue tracks she's known for, such as 'Unrequited Love', 'I Know Places' and the fantastic 'Sadness is a Blessing'. On this album, Lykke Li often doesn't seem to know whether she's on the dance-floor or if she's in the bedroom; these disparate moods actually combine really well and are effective in her evocation of emotional life. Wounded Rhymes is experimental while still being accessible and compelling. The progression that we see on this album is organic and natural rather than being affected by some producer or record label. She charmed with her understated first record and she is bound to impress even more people with this excellent follow up.

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