Album Review: Major Lazer – Apocalypse Soon

On 25th February, Major Lazer (a.k.a. the renowned producer Diplo’s side project in collaboration with Jillionaire and Walshy Fire) will be releasing new material following the mixed success of 2013’s Free The Universe. For those expecting the vast array of collaborations with renowned musical talent that Major Lazer’s albums are typically comprised of, the new EP entitled Apocalypse Soon will certainly not disappoint, as such musical greats as Sean Paul, Pharrell Williams, Machel Montano and Mr. Fox, have all been brought in to add diversity and spice to the eccentric and variable tracks.
Major Lazer has always, I feel, been a somewhat underappreciated presence in the world of contemporary music, perhaps due to their innovative mix of various musical cultures and scenes, bringing together the familiar sounds of European EDM with Caribbean club music and various other more rocky and poppy sounds depending on particular collaborators and producers on a given individual track. It is for this reason that Apocalypse Soon is a diverse, eccentric and dynamic listening experience, as the collaborators all bring their own subtle musical idiosyncrasies to the record.
Much has changed since the days of ‘Get Free’ and ‘Pon de Floor’, as the intense and frenetic sounds from their earlier work is back, but with a more clean cut and ‘produced’ feel. The first track on the album, ‘Aerosol Can’, featuring the inimitable Pharrell Williams, is a stripped down, beat-heavy wonder.
Williams’ rapping is an almost mesmerizing experience in its repetitive and impressive speedy rhythm, and, although not necessarily being the catchiest or most dance oriented when compared to other tracks on the album, or even when compared to the rest of Major Lazer’s discography, it is an exciting and promising start to the record.
The most intense and variable track on Apocalypse Soon appears to me to be ‘Sound Bang’, four minutes of Caribbean music provided by Machel Montano mixed with intense and erratic bouts of EDM. It is a pleasingly strange experience, and it is this that makes it so appealing.
The best track on the record, I would argue, is the intensely danceable ‘Lose Yourself’, featuring Columbian producer Moska and dance music twosome RDX. It seems to be harking back to the sounds of ‘Pon de Floor’, one of Major Lazer’s better known and most lauded tracks. It may not be as experimental or transgressive as some of the others, but it will be sure to get people buying the EP and talking about Major Lazer again. Overall, Apocalypse Soon is a good set of material, and lays the groundwork for excitement and anticipation when a longer-length record is finally released.