Monday, October 06, 2008

More Than a Little Bit: Lykke Li live at Concorde2

Born out of a distinctly camp musical heritage that boasts Abba, Roxette and Ace of Base as its biggest names, blossoming starlet Lykke Li boldly reinvents preconceptions about Swedish pop, without entirely turning her back on those kitsch musical roots. I was originally turned onto LL by one of my new friends (thanks Chantille!) in the woods at Latitude, but failed to catch her set there because I was dragged to Julian Cope instead (and what a let down that was). I bought the album on the back of the recommendation though, and absolutely loved it. Then last Thursday I finally got to see her live, at the Concorde 2 in Brighton. It was a really buzzy occasion, heaving with Brighton hispters, and filled with that sense of privileged anticipation you get when you know you are in on the start of something big.

Strikingly statuesque and classically Nordic in looks, Lykke Li exudes a maturity and sincerity beyond her 22 years as she strides confidently around the stage in hotpants and baggy top, ironic bling jangling. Though her repertoire is currently limited to one album's worth of songs, she delivers these, plus a couple of obscure cover versions (including Wendy Renee's 'After Laughter') with accomplished conviction, and the promise of more delights to come. Deftly executed catchy pop hooks and minimalist electro arrangements make this irresistibly infectious listening, and soon the whole room is bopping along. There are quieter moments too, with tenderly voiced bittersweet love songs like 'Little Bit' tugging the heartstrings of those of us who recall the naive uncertainty of post-adolescent romances. Clearly the two blokes in front of us never experienced this, as they continue to shout at the top of their voices throughout, until Brian puts his teacher hat on and gives them a right ticking off. Go Brian! But apart from such minor annoyances, it was an excellent gig. Even the support band, Micachu, were pretty good, mixing up Bluesy sentiments with laptop jiggery-pokery and live Samba rhythms to intriguing effect.

Of course, Lykke Li isn't the only one to be making Swedish music cool again (check out the wigdet below for further recommendations), but she is doing it particularly well. I'm not saying it's challenging or even very sophisticated listening; just highly listenable pop - if quirky female electro-pop in the Goldfrapp/Feist/Camille vein is your thing, then you will love Lykke Li.


  1. I saw both Lykke and Julian at Latitude, so you can't blame him for missing her (you can blame him for a crap performance though).

  2. Ah yes, you're right - it must have been Grinderman that clashed. It's all rather hazy. That wasn't a bad gig, except for my camera battery dying right at the start!


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