Major Lazer Peace Is The Mission
    • THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2015

    • Posted by: Niko Demetriou

    Major Lazer is a big name. With Diplo remaining as the group's foundation, we have seen the eurotrance stylings of Switch find success in the team's initial electronic dancehall debut; and with his departure, Jillionaire has come in to bump up the intensity of the tracks, really drawing in the massive EDM fan base that they have today. The duo has consistently delivered tracks that bring in the kandi bracelets and neon clothing with their individual blend of reggae influenced beats, but aside from the occasional radio hit feature, they haven't gone far away from their traditional syncopated house sound. They have not been one to stray far from what their fans know and love, but their newest album Peace Is The Mission steps past their comfort zone and into a much rounder and more complete sound.

    Those with an ear for electronic music will appreciate the sheer variety of styles presented in Peace Is The Mission. While at the album's core the dancehall influence remains intact, things get manipulated and arranged in different fashions to keep the album fresh. Tracks like "Be Together" and "Powerful" use soft, enticing vocals over a throbbing deep bass line for a more drum n bass sound that balances out some of the heavier tracks on the record. Then there's "Blaze Up The Fire," a lively and positive song that breaks down into the most satisfyingly grimy dub beat. While it may not seem like these tracks should go together, they all share the universal island sound that brings them in. This is the same sound that received some criticism when the group was first gaining notoriety for being a bit touristy, but here it feels sincere and at home.

    The use of features is what creates this variety and authenticity and helps to give the record its depth. Bringing in big reggae names like Tarrus Riley alongside the familiar Ellie Goulding give the album a broader sound, catering to a larger fan base. Letting silky vocals lead into smooth trance synths like in "Lean On" provide the tracks that feel equally fitting at raves as they do cruising in a car ride home. Getting to hear Pusha T and 2 Chainz rap over a dubbed out beat is something unfamiliar, but it finds a nice spot on "Night Riders."

    However, at times it does feel as if the DJ team pays their features too much respect. Letting soulful vocals shine over a solid electronic sound is good, but hiding a beat underneath a vocalist for too long can be frustrating when the track builds up for a less than stellar release. Thankfully this doesn't happen often and the balance between lyricism and tough beats is fair. Balanced is the best way to describe Peace Is The Mission. It keeps the tracks varied but unified and has enough diversity to attract a broader audience. The tracks that will become radio hits are obvious and feel a bit dumbed down but that's alright as the other songs make up for it. Major Lazer holds a title belt in the EDM world, and there aren't too many challengers in sight.

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