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QUICK SPINS: Lykke Li, Eisley

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 23, 2011 6:20PM

In which we take a quick look at a few recent or upcoming musical releases.

Lykke Li
Wounded Rhymes

2011_05_wounded_rhymes.jpg Lykke Li's debut was a genre hopping pleasure that showcased the Swedish singer and songwriter exploring various territories as she came into her own. On Wounded Rhymes Li makes an astonishing dash towards maturity and delivers a unexpectedly strong follow-up filled with aggression, passion and an unexpected depth of feeling. Li's winsome and lilting little girl vocals of her earlier work are replaced by a more full-throated delivery. These are songs built on heartache and heartbreak but Li decides to turn the situation around to her own advantage, taking that wounded heart and pumping it full of angry blood. We're not saying this is a loud album all the way through, but even the quieter, more introspective songs carry a greater weight and thrust then one would have expected from Li. Wounded Rhymes seems to invite to to dance manically or cry tragically, often at the same time, and we find ourselves only too eager to indulge its requests.

Lykke Li plays tonight, May 23, at Metro.

The Valley

2011_05_The_Valley.jpg Eisley is built upon the core of the bewitchingly beautiful and darkly narcotic voiced DuPree sisters -- Sherri, Chauntelle and Stacy -- and their first album in four years, The Valley, is built upon failed relationships involving each of the women. In the past we have been largely unimpressed by the group but we admit that this new back story had us approaching their latest effort with hope. Lyrically the album does follow a slightly more aggressive pathway but for the most part the band undercuts the openings anger could have offered by drenching the vocals in music that hews firmly to the middle of the road. A song like "Watch It Die," with it's chorus of "my love for you has died tonight" had the chance to bite but instead the pleasant fluff it's built upon, while ensuring radio programmers will respond appreciatively, sucks out any actual emotion. What's frustrating is that the band is capable of marrying true emotion with radio friendly music, as they do on the plaintive "Please," with it's arching and aching verses and choruses that hit home with their naked honesty. We wish The Valley featured more of that deft interplay between craftsmanship and naked honesty ad less of a reliance upon the overly formulaic tendencies of triple-A radio.

Eisley "Smarter"

Eisley plays May 26 at Bottom Lounge.