Despite the slew of megastars on the last Gorillaz album, it was ‘Empire Ants’ and ‘To Binge’ that stood out as that record’s dreamy high points – and they made the band that starred on those tracks, Little Dragon, an act to look out for.

It's not that the band hadn’t already made a name for themselves. They had made two fantastic albums before this (the self-titled debut in 2007 and 2009's synth-heavy Machine Dreams). The Gorillaz collaboration just took it to the next level. It saw them appearing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and being asked to collaborate with people like Big Boi and DJ Shadow. Little Dragon had entered the big league.

With Ritual Union, they show they can take it all in their stride. The album builds on the synthy direction they ploughed on Machine Dreams and captures a band confident enough to take their sound to new places.

Yukimi Nagano’s voice is immaculate and assured – though lyrically Ritual Union is all about questioning things. Take ‘Little Man’, for example where she attacks crude displays of wealth and materialism. On the title track she ponders whether marriage and monogamy are for her. She’s certainly dealing with the ‘big’ questions.

Sonically this is sleek and sexy. The percussion stands out and the album is about the space in between the sounds. Songs like ‘Summertearz’ and ‘Please Turn’ are futuristic, sexy and soulful while ‘Seconds’ is the closest thing to ‘Empire Ants’.

Precious’ is the stand out - taut and metallic, it’s all sharp edges and sultriness, before going wonderfully gonzo with a woodpecker attacking the sound system.

If Little Dragon are still best known for collaborating with Gorillaz, Ritual Union is a body of work that should go a long way to making a name for themselves in their own right.

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