Lykke Li, deep end / hard rain.

Few would have foreseen Lykke Li’s submersion in slick contemporary R&B coming off the back of the lovelorn I Never Learn, 2014, but fewer still would begrudge the Swede’s latest directional recalibration on the basis of how well deep end comes off. Having been co-produced by Jeff Bhasker, Malay and T-Minus, it’s little wonder that, at surface level, it’s a hard-hitting, glistening heavyweight. But for so profoundly radical a deviation, not only has she taken the plunge, but she’s taken to it like a Svensk blå anka to the Djurgårdsbrunnsviken, her vocal – evocative of BANKS’, as and whenever distorted to dramatic impact – a perhaps improbably perfect fit. Thus although she may never learn in certain respects (“I wasn’t gonna love you/ Now I’m so fuckin’ deep in it,” she concedes during a somewhat ludic bridge), she most certainly does in others…

hard rain, meanwhile, hears a return to rather more familiar waters, onetime Vampire Weekender Rostam Batmanglij proffering a comparably minimal production, letting Zachrisson’s inviting vox better represent themselves. Likewise, lyrically, it’s quintessentially lachrymose stuff: “If you like the feeling of a hard rain falling/ I have a sea-full, I can give you an ocean” she begins, reiteratively, with the conclusive verdict: “Us is holding us hostage” concluding proceedings. These are, however, the beginnings of another beguiling chapter in her decreasingly youthful, if still largely wounded, novel; and it’s one which may yet prove her best seller to date.

deep end and hard rain are lifted from her forthcoming so sad so sexy full-length, which is available from June 8th via RCA Records / LL Recordings, while Lykke Li plays All Points East on Saturday, 26th May.