Major Lazer - Free The Universe

Major Lazer stands for firing on an all cylinders...
Major Lazer - Free The Universe

After losing Dave ‘Switch’ Taylor to ‘creative differences’, Major Lazer’s progress going pretty much unchecked only adds intrigue to the separation’s particulars. Diplo sustaining abuse of curfews and sound levels will get all the attention, rehiring gut-punching drummer boys, drop-it-down-low samples, brusque ragga lyrics (though the naughty-but-niceness of ‘Guns Don’t Kill People...’ appears streamlined) and synths hiccupping into a fireball of squeaks made to cough up your inner ear.

It’s the extensions of ‘truer’ dancehall (read: sustaining appreciation for something he’s ravaged the blueprint of) and fuller formed songs that present a damned if you do...argument. Every track a collaboration, appearances by a tepid Wyclef Jean, Peaches popping up something loopy, and a misused Bruno Mars paired with Tyga, are shopping list impulse buys bagged to diversify the delirium of Dutch house, digi-dancehall, and B-more silliness. The pull of the Lazer beam draws in members of Dirty Projectors, Vampire Weekend and, er, Shaggy - the hotness of the ticket allowing Diplo to go cherry-picking seemingly regardless if they’ll do the LP a solid.

Dubstep from Flux Pavilion and Laidback Luke helping inflate a synth whoopee cushion, are both in the spirit of the all-action, rawness on repeat formula. ‘Get Free’ and ‘Jessica’, woozing up the skanks of ‘Can’t Stop Now’ and ‘Cash Flow’, play it sensible, only to be unfairly deemed as stringently second fiddle. As per the enormity of ‘Pon De Floor’, Major Lazer stands for firing on an all cylinders but doesn’t warn against the oomph taking leave of absence, though it does play off the shoulder of the first LP just lovely.

6/10

Words by MATT OLIVER

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