If you asked me to list off electronic artists that bring raw energy to every show, I would be hard-pressed not to include Major Lazer. Their patent blend of reggae and all things electronic is iconic among festivals worldwide, and for good reason; they’re always a wildcard, too full of life not to enjoy.
Their eclectic nature is definitely at the forefront of their third studio effort, \”Peace Is The Mission\”. While I reel from calling any effort by this trio “calm”, a lot of the tracks in this collection are more reigned in than I have come to expect from these veterans (you are not going to find a “Jah No Partial” on this album). Fortunately, the talented group of vocalists they gathered still kept plenty of life in the record. It is simply more refined than in the past, which has been a hallmark of 2015 so far and isn’t unexpected.
While listening, you can pretty much divide the album right down the middle into \’radio\’ and \’festival\’ friendly categories. Start off with the first track, “Be Together”. After giving the album a blind run through, I honestly thought that frontman Diplo finally got his wish to work with Lorde. Radio tune. Then, onto the second track, “Too Original”. I mean, listen those energetic dancehall vocals stacked on top of those towering electro-house synths? Classic Major Lazer festival banger. And it just keeps going. “Powerful”? Radio. “Blaze Up The Fire”? Festival.
After a few complete plays, what I can say about this album is that it is a pleasant listen. There is nothing on this album is going to make you want to turn it off. The trio simply set out to create a pop-ier album (and they succeeded), although they may have sacrificed a sense of genuine originality in the process. I often felt like the production, while perfectly executed, was lost behind the vocal tracks and didn’t offer anything new or unexpected.
In the past, Major Lazer’s new work was inspiring. Love them or hate them, they produced music that was different from anything else on the festival circuit. But now, the music sounds comfortable. They found their niche and don’t want to leave. And can you really fault them for that? I for one can’t.
Overall, in a world where it seems like a big name in EDM is dropping an album every week, Peace Is The Mission was not a standout effort for me. It is simply what it is supposed to be, an easy to digest album crafted in Major Lazer’s signature style. Give it a listen for yourself and see what you think.