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Lykke Li - Eyeye

  by Zena Grieg

published: 21 / 6 / 2022

Lykke Li - Eyeye
Label: Play It Again Sam
Format: CD


Intimate and minimalist yet cinematic fifth album from Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li

Now California-based, the Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li has released a surprisingly intimate new album. Eschewing digital instruments and enhancements, the Swedish romantic instead has focused on a minimalist production, using only a $70 drum microphone for all vocals. Created with long-time collaborator Bjorn Yttling, this fifth album, described by Li as more of an audio-visual project than a traditional record, is accompanied by analogue videos which startle with their primary colours, neon lights, claustrophobic settings and hypnotic, surreal repetition. On the concept behind the album, Li said: “I was really interested in taking a grand form like moviemaking and cutting it all up, as that’s where we are right now. I was thinking about Marina Abramovic’s ‘Relation in Space,’ where she’s continuously running into a man, or Pina Bausch, when she’s falling down over and over again. There was something in the repetition that felt so true to me, almost like a perfect action – a kind of slicing into the truth.” Highlights of this stripped-back eight-track collection include: the lead single, plaintive opener ‘No Hotel’ with its lingering, longing harmonies; the painful intensity of ‘You Don’t Go Away’ with its breathless, exhausted vocals; the mournful, synth-pop-tinged ‘Highway To Your Heart’ with its sparse lyrics: “Night falls, and it, it rains, and I wake up alone/Get high, but it won’t last, I’m still alone”; the funereal ‘Happy Hurts’; the playful, carnivalesque ‘Carousel’ with its caught-in-a loop memories: “Spin my heart around and ‘round/Flying and I can’t come down/Yeah, I’m as high as hell/And I can’t let go”; and the defiantly optimistic closer ’U and I’, where Li refuses to have the door closed on a relationship: “Turn around, yeah you/The movie is you and I”. Oscillating between mournfulness and meditation, ‘Eyeye’ is an ethereal, cinematic exploration of heartache and breakup and the thin veneer between reality and dreams.

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