Album: Little Dragon, Ritual Union (Peacefrog)

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The Independent Culture

The idea of setting the human against the robotic has provided electronic pop with a rich seam of inspiration ever since Yazoo. In recent years, few acts have carried it off with greater style than this Swedish-Japanese quartet.

Their third album sees them poised to go supernova. The main factor at play is their collaboration with Gorillaz on Plastic Beach. Suddenly, everyone wants to be their friend: they've been working with Big Boi, Dave Sitek and DJ Shadow.

The danger is that they might spread themselves too thin, but on this evidence they've kept their best ideas close to their chests. Hakan Wirenstrand's analogue synth sounds rub up against Yukimi Nagano's soulful vocals like cool plastic against warm flesh.

The title track, echoing Malcolm McLaren's "Madame Butterfly", may be the finest moment, but the name of "Summertearz" encapsulates the mood perfectly.