Tove Lo mines a very specific groove on her sophomore album “Lady Wood” (Island).
It’s the same heady mix of slow-burning dance pop and well-crafted lyrics outlining the darker side of club life that brought the Swedish singer-songwriter hits like “Habits (Stay High)” and “Talking Body” on her debut. While her contemporaries like Robyn and Lykke Li offer a wide range of dance styles on their albums, Tove Lo opts to go deep.
The first single, the stylish “Cool Girl,” is inspired by the thriller “Gone Girl” and shows how crafty she can be with her lyrics when the groove, offered by producers The Struts, is unstoppable. The hypnotic “Influence,” which features a great verse from Wiz Khalifa, carries on the fine tradition of moody Swedish dance pop launched by Kylie Minogue’s “Slow” and Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” And Lo plays it just right, staying well within her vocal range and keeping tight control of her delivery.
Those parameters may eventually become a bit constraining, but for a dance album like “Lady Wood,” it just ensures that the Tove Lo party won’t stop any time soon.