Ever since Abba went global, Sweden has been a pop paradise, a factory of mathematically perfect hooks. Lykke Li is a different kind of Swedish wunderkind: an ingenious oddball. Her second album is a weird-pop gem — torchy love songs that nod to Sixties hits but are stretched into all kinds of shapes. Li dips into garage rock and wintry folk, but her guiding spirit seems to be Phil Spector, and she laces the music with booming percussion and girl-group-style romantic melodrama. Li is no revivalist. “I Follow Rivers” places her neo-Shangri-Las sentiments (“He the rebel/I’m the daughter”) against an eerie swirl of synths, reverb-swathed guitars and pinging electronic percussion. As for all the catchy tunes: That’s just a Swede, exercising her birthright.
Listen to “I Follow Rivers”: