Kicking things off with the title track, 'Ritual Union', a repeated groove lays out the structure for the rest of the album. Through the backbone of every song here runs a simple sonic foundation, upon which melodies and sounds are layered. Not wanting to become repetitive however, these initially straight lines swirl and curl and progress along with the music. It's truly fascinating to listen to. A tinkling keyboard leads into the second number 'Little Man'. A quirky upbeat rhythm is highlighted by short catchy notes in a manner almost chiptune in its delivery. Once again, the vocals aren't forced, but carry a level of calm and subtle feeling that's hard not to love. The intriguing little 'la la la's of 'Brush The Heat' flit above a high pitched whine which deepens to introduce 'Shuffle A Dream'. One of the more accessible and catchy choruses on the album, the layered vocals work to add variety. 'Please Turn' marks the half way mark with it's startling booming notes and oppressive buzzes, but really, every song here is worthy of note.
Other outstanding sections to 'Ritual Union' include 'Precious' and its organic drums. Said glitchy drum beat is jumped upon by higher vocals that somehow manage to feel decidedly darker. Effects-wide, whizzing noises and vibrating drones make this one of the more experimental tracks, in my eyes at least. 'Summertearz' feels barren, but the windy quietness at the beginning is soon infiltrated by playful humming and a simple drum pattern. Harmonious vocals come across as tribal as well, but this is played off extremely easily, and your ears have no trouble wandering around the noises. The finisher, 'Seconds' wallows in the swamp of nostalgia, which is an element attributed heavily to the reverb on the singing. The backing track is a quieter one, and the vocals float above it's repeated rhythm. It's a peaceful dream after a day filled with wondrous sights and sounds. Although not the strongest and boldest album I was expecting, this effort works just as well. Instead of progressing off the second record, Little Dragon tone things back down. This is relaxing electronic pop at its very best, in an album I whole-heartily recommend.
'Shuffle A Dream'