22-year-old Lykke Li (real name is Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson) is the latest singer/songwriter to come out of Sweden, which is starting to become a hotbed for indie music.
Her debut album Youth Novels has already entranced fans overseas, and the EP Little Bit is meant to satisfy American listeners until the LP’s stateside debut.
Lykke Li’s musical stylings are similar to fellow Swede El Perro Del Mar. Both share a frightening relaxed calmness, in spite of heightened emotions or the sudden arrival of dramatic situations. While not as gloomy as El Perro, Lykke Li does showcase a surreal, tranquilizer-like depressed flow of storytelling. It sounds bad I know, but she hides it so well behind her smooth, angelic whispers.
The EP’s title track is mesmerizing, evoking a sensual striptease fantasy by a former love. The song fuses so many sounds, from quasi-bossa nova to soul, while maintaining a simplistic and raw, non-explicitly erotic beat in the background.
“Dance, Dance, Dance” (download mp3 here) extends the simplistic and raw beats from earlier, but are patterned more ritualistically rather than erotically, with the ending chant signaling the bonfire’s audience to participate.
“Everybody But Me” (proving a contrast to the previous two songs) is more solitary, depicting a young girl’s insecurities against the weight of the world: “I get the creeps from all the people in here / I cannot breathe, it’s too crowded in here / Don’t look at me.” The repeating lyrics “I don’t want to…” are surprisingly effective reflections of the teen pressures and struggles.
The closing track “Time Flies” is the EP’s centerpiece, extending the theme of insecurities and instead depicting a mother’s fears and vulnerabilities. Parenthood can be frightening, and LL perfectly portrays that idea through her unsure, yet supportive vocals: “I hang on, don’t want to miss my prime / ‘Cause time will fly, upon my baby’s back.”
In only four tracks, Lykke Li takes us almost through (and in no particular order) a few stages of life, including adolescence, sex, and parenting. Little Bit feels both complete and unfinished at the same time, leaving an anxiety for the full LP’s release.