Little Dragon - Season High
Little Dragon are more famous for their collaborations than they are for their actual albums. Not particularly something someone wants to be known for but when you have worked with the likes of Odesza, Gorillaz, De La Soul, and Big Boi just to name a few you are sure to make a bit of a name for yourself. The problem is that Little Dragon have never been able to put all the pieces together completely on their own. As a dance group Little Dragon have always been a bit out there trying new things and experimenting with the genre. They never really feature any of their big name collaborators on their records, showing just how much they want their music to shine on their albums regardless of what they do on other peoples'. There are some quite strong 80s pop vibes on this album, almost like what M83 tried to do last year with Junk but way, WAY better. "High" has this really smooth groove and Little Dragon just let you sit in it for awhile nodding away as the beat goes on and on. Season High sort of follows in the same vein as Daft Punk's Random Access Memories where it is almost Yacht Rock for the electronic set, but not quite as overt. Because the band uses a lot of downtempo elements some of the album tends to drag, because they are a band something that might feel like a nice pocket to stay and play in is not as fun for the listener. The more out there tracks like "Sweet" also tend to fall a bit flat.
There are also flashes of R&B on the record usually peppered in with Yukimi Nagano's vocals, but it is almost like they only grab one touch tone from that sound and then move on. "Butterflies" really is one of the most egregious tracks on the record; at over six minutes it never reaches any kind of point or drop, just sort of exists the whole time. The lyrics throughout the album rarely that deep keeping mostly with the normal dance troupes. What is the most frustrating about the record is there are these little moments of brilliance that they just cannot seem to capitalize on. "Strobe Light" has a really nice sound, but they don't deliver on how big of a song it should be and just how hard it should hit. Perhaps this is why their collaborations tend to be more successful, By the end of the record it has just become a chore to listen to and no really original ideas or exciting things are being done. There are a few times where Nagano's delivery may sound a little Prince-esque but they never get anywhere near that creativity. Season High just feels like a band going through the motions and for that reason it really suffers. This is not going to be the record that breaks Little Dragon, but who knows, maybe another high level collab is right around the corner.
5.0 out of 10