Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Jul 21, 2011
    100
    Though consistently ground-breaking and lyrically challenging, Ritual Union never feels like hard work.
  2. With Ritual Union, the band forges their own path and does not take the easy way out.
  3. Aug 11, 2011
    86
    So Ritual Union may not be a perfect album, but it is charming, intriguing and rewarding enough to ensure that you'll overlook any flaws and keep coming back to give it another spin. And that's something very special indeed.
  4. 83
    It's ambient R&B for restless nights. [29 Jul 2011, p.72]
  5. Dec 7, 2011
    80
    The group puts some twists on its sound, and Yukimi Nagano's lyrical thorns, typically concealed by her subtle approach -- are sharper than ever.
  6. 80
    If diversity is key, this album certainly has it in abundant strength and as more is revealed, the range of the band takes over.
  7. Nov 22, 2011
    80
    Ritual Union feels like the point at which Little Dragon's lyrical stride finally gets in step with their musical ambition. [Aug. 2011, p. 93]
  8. Jul 28, 2011
    80
    Ritual Union makes it three alums without a remotely duff--or dull--moment. [Aug 2011, p.93]
  9. The danger is that they might spread themselves too thin, but on this evidence they've kept their best ideas close to their chests.
  10. Jul 26, 2011
    80
    Electronica bands run the risk of entering an ethereal, psychedelic realm and never leaving, but Little Dragon always maintains its tie to the tangible world through Nagano's voice.
  11. Jul 26, 2011
    80
    Their third set hits a sweet spot between the futuristic soul of their debut and the synth pop of 2009's Machine Dreams.
  12. Jul 25, 2011
    80
    Ritual Union is the rich vindication of Little Dragon's slow burning upturn.
  13. Jul 21, 2011
    80
    Paired with Nagano's warm, engrossing voice, Ritual Union's songs become much more than just capable synth-pop fare.
  14. 80
    She's surely destined to become one of the voices of the year, while her accomplices' subtle confections of minimal electro throbs and stripped-back beats has an alluring simplicity that's like a refreshing, palate-cleansing sorbet.
  15. Jul 19, 2011
    80
    Little Dragon clearly weren't broken, so they haven't tried to fix themselves; they have instead filed their art into an incisive point, and with Ritual Union stand at the top of their trade. This is far more than instantly-forgotten ad fodder.
  16. Jul 14, 2011
    80
    As the album withdraws from the dancefloor to the lonelier darkness of Summertearz and Seconds, Nagano lures you to follow.
  17. Jul 13, 2011
    80
    Its dreamy interludes, leading into those electroclash tangents provide a welcome bit of inventiveness that help to remind that, while relatable at their best, Little Dragon are hardly conventional.
  18. Jul 13, 2011
    80
    This band's gradual edging over the precipice of mainstream acceptance has been richly deserved; now, everyone should hear this dragon roar.
  19. Jul 25, 2011
    78
    Though captivating siren Yukimi Nagano needs to turn it loose…watch out once she does.
  20. Jul 13, 2011
    75
    After the brilliant five-track sweep that opens Ritual Union, which peaks with the entrancing "Please Turn," Little Dragon take an unfortunate turn toward light experimentation and hard-nosed repetition, emphasizing pocket-sized click-clack rhythms and downplaying
  21. 70
    On this lovely little patchwork pop record, there's enough going on to make you actually quite scared of what they'd come up with if they had a budget.
  22. Jul 13, 2011
    70
    Little Dragon's third full-length deepens the group's down-tempo mix of icy techno and smoldering R&B.
  23. Jul 26, 2011
    67
    Ritual Union is almost there, content to split the difference between genre pieces and potential pop hits.
  24. Jul 26, 2011
    67
    Little Dragon have clearly mastered their style on this album; hopefully next time around they will deliver more songs worthy of their sound.
  25. Jul 13, 2011
    65
    Ritual Union is an album that has about as many standouts as skip-overs. The standouts are songs that won't get old, but the skip-overs aren't the type to grow on you, more the type that a significant other might use in the morning to fuck with your fragile early stages of consciousness.
  26. Nov 28, 2011
    60
    Ritual Union is catchy and well-produced, but it certainly doesn't demand any more than a handful of listens.
  27. Aug 8, 2011
    60
    Swedish electro-pop hipsters take understatement to a new high. [Aug. 2011, p. 117]
  28. Jul 20, 2011
    60
    With Little Dragon, you get it all under the one roof: a groove-powered producer's band with a little edge, an indie sensibility and a soul singer at its helm, able to turn out a pretty melody on the right side of cloyingly doe-eyed.
  29. Jul 25, 2011
    50
    Ultimately the effort is mighty, and Little Dragon is still clearly at the top of the electro R&B pile. But Ritual Union is a mixed bag, its feet uncomfortably divided between the dance floor and the couch.
  30. 40
    In summation, for a band that received little limelight in the beginning, Little Dragon showed immense talent and work ethic to earn their keep in the world. Our question is this: Where were those two items when recording Ritual Union?
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jan 23, 2012
    8
    Really solid album that starts off with a hell of a bang and doesn't let go until it's over. I would say it's their best and not even reallyReally solid album that starts off with a hell of a bang and doesn't let go until it's over. I would say it's their best and not even really all that close. Shuffle A Dream is one of the greatest songs that's come out of any genre in years. Please Turn is amazing as well, hell all of the tracks are. Full Review »
  2. j30
    Aug 11, 2011
    5
    I was a bit disappointed in this album. After hearing Little Dragon's contributions to Gorillaz (best song on the album, Empire Antz) andI was a bit disappointed in this album. After hearing Little Dragon's contributions to Gorillaz (best song on the album, Empire Antz) and Maximum Balloon (If You Return) you'd expect something a bit more fresh. I really wanted to like this album and I'm still interested to hear where they go from here. All in all it's just meh. Full Review »
  3. Aug 3, 2011
    4
    The first track is good but all of the rest of the album is just noise. Pity they couldn't repeat the first track over the rest of the album.The first track is good but all of the rest of the album is just noise. Pity they couldn't repeat the first track over the rest of the album. Speaking about that good first track...its awful to watch on studio live versions as the vocal distortions dont work live. Full Review »