Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes

Chris Ryan

By Chris Ryan

on 02.28.11 in Reviews

Wounded Rhymes

Lykke Li

You can't go home again, but it doesn't really matter, does it? You never really leave. Lykke Li decided to make her sophomore album, Wounded Rhymes, in Los Angeles; about as far away meteorologically and geographically as she could get from her native Sweden. And yet, like a window that you can't quite shut or, more accurately, a place you can't quite forget, the feel of a cold dark winter permeates this wonderful, strange and sensual album.

Swedish chanteuse finds the frozen heart in her relocated L.A. home

Recorded in the trendy Echo Park neighborhood of L.A. and produced by Peter, Bjorn & John's Björn Yttling, Wounded Rhymes finds Lykke Li playing the role of conduit. She takes in a dizzying array of sounds and influences and spits them back out in a decidedly unique fashion. It's a primal album, with many songs built from the beat up. It should come as no surprise that Lykke Li was fond of covering Lil Wayne's slithering "A Milli" in concert; this is a woman who clearly draws power from rhythm. Nowhere is this more evident than on the hypnotizing fist single, "Get Some," where Lykke turns the simple count of "Iko Iko" into an swirling, dark, electro storm with Pentacostal sermon-like power.

Whether she's laying her voice over the Depeche Mode style goth pop of "I Follow Rivers" or the almost countrified, glacial "Unrequited Love," the lonely winter is never far from Lykke's mind. When she sings, "all this love is unrequited, twice the pain and suffering," on the latter track, you can practically see her brushing the hair from her face as she stares out onto a snowy landscape from her window. You can change the view, but you can't change you.