Major Lazer: Free the Universe


REGGAE producer Diplo’s second album under the Major Lazer banner is a frankly bonkers affair but, quite honestly, all the better for that.
The 34-year-old American (real name Thomas Pentz) has roped in a huge array of guest names – Bruno Mars, Wyclef Jean, Peaches and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig to name but four – and the result is, at its best, a party album par excellence.
When he gives free rein to his talent for melody we are the winners: the ethereal reggae pop of Jessica, featuring Koenig’s falsetto vocals, is one of the year’s highlights for me.
Last year’s single Get Free, with Amber Coffman from American rockers Dirty Projectors on lead vocals, is another stand-out.
Wyclef Jean collaboration Reach for the Stars veers a bit too close into FM rock territory for these ears, and while Scare Me, featuring Peaches and Timberlee, is fiercely compulsive and tremendously enjoyable, too many tracks would have hugely benefited from an injection of tune for the album to be unequivocally recommended, but it’s still well worth a listen.


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