Little Dragon

Season High

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Little Dragon reaped their greatest commercial success with fourth album Nabuma Rubberband, a Top 25 Billboard 200 hit nominated for a Grammy. After its release, Little Dragon's guest appearances likewise increased in profile from being sought out by ODESZA, Mac Miller, Kaytranada, De La Soul, and Flume. While Season High, the band's follow-up to all that acclaim and activity, adds some new twists and roams from weightless Scandinavian soul ballads to zipping synth pop, the albums is deficient in emotional depth and congeals into a mass of adequate mood music. It doesn't offer much more once the themes -- including romantic fulfillment, solace, and longing, with a little materialistic frivolity, eyelash batting, and cutting loose -- come into sharper focus. The album's best moments evoke past highlights. The potent "Butterflies," for instance, has a lightly frosted delicacy similar to that of "Fortune and "Cat Rider," and those that are just behind it, such as "Sweet" and "Strobe Light," don't have the bite of standouts from the second and third albums. The band still keeps the outside input to a low-profile minimum: barely detectable assistance from Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford on "High," "Boom Clap" co-producer Patrik Berger on "Sweet," and a squealing solo from Agge, a guitarist who played on the debut, on "Celebrate." Up to this point, Little Dragon's preservative self-containment was refreshing. The safe, routine feel of Season High calls for some risks, whether they're several returned favors or a whole-session co-producer for album six.

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