Lykke Li set for 2011 UK tour
- Malcolm Jack
- 24 March 2011
Swedish singer tours critically-acclaimed album Wounded Rhymes
From Robyn to Miike Snow and the fast-approaching Sound of Arrows, the fine line in pop acts with indie cache emanating from Sweden continues unbroken. If Lykke Li can convert the glowing critical reception that has met her recent second album into commercial success, the Stockholm-based chanteuse – given name Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson – could end up being the Scandinavian country’s biggest export in a while, much as it might spell more pain for a performer who evidently believes in suffering for her art.
At time of writing, Wounded Rhymes is just behind releases from PJ Harvey and James Blake on meta-review websites as one of the critics’ favourite longplayers of 2011 so far. Produced by Björn Ytlling - of Peter, Björn and John - it trails Zachrisson’s debut set Youth Novels by just three years, yet sounds like the work of a singer and songwriter who has lived a whole lifetime in the interim. From cutesy, precocious elfin pop oddball, she’s matured into a Phil Spector-produced 60s girl groups-loving purveyor of stark break-up songs ranging in mood from playful to confrontational to downright doomy.
‘Sadness is my boyfriend,’ Zachrisson laments on Shangri La’s-style ballad centrepiece ‘Sadness Is a Blessing’. We don’t believe for one second that the statuesque 24-year-old hasn’t had a better offer, but the message over the course of the album is clear: she’s a bleeding-hearted, bloody-minded artiste whose lyrics are now, as she puts it, ‘darker, moodier … heavier’, as she evokes none more plainly than during ‘Silent Song’. ‘You see pain like it is pleasure,’ she sings, her vocals multi-layered in a reverby wall of sound, ‘like a work of art.’ Where Robyn dances the heartbreak away, Zachrisson freezes her tears in still moments of naked vulnerability, and that’s always a winning formula – just look at Adele’s rise and rise for proof. This Swede might just be one moment-capturing hit away from a similarly sharp upwards trajectory.
The Arches, Glasgow, Mon 18 Apr.