Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: Major Lazer, Free the Universe

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Major Lazer. Photo / Supplied
Major Lazer. Photo / Supplied

Few artists could cram shock-rocker Peaches, Vampire Weekend's preppy crooner Ezra Koenig, dubstep scaremongers Flux Pavillion and cheesy reggae star Shaggy on the same record and get away with it. It's even rarer to find an artist who could make such a global cacophony sound so good. But that's the brilliance of dance producer Diplo and his ambitious Major Lazer project, designed as a genre-mashing musical melting pot streamed through a Jamaican dancehall party. His much-delayed second album pushes the template from 2009's Guns Don't Kill People ... Lazers Do into further extremes: Keep Cool mixes soul, hip-hop and woozy computerised dubstep together; Watch Out For This (Bumaye) is a synth-heavy, siren-fuelled stomper destined to make dreadlocks fly; Get Free is a dub-reggae ballad featuring super-smooth vocals from the Dirty Projector's Amber Heard and Scare Me is an electro-punk soundclash in which Peaches runs riot. The biggest anthem is Jah No Partial, a turbo-charged bruiser that will appeal to drum'n'bass and dubstep fans alike. But it's on the big beat basslines, ridiculous Tyga raps and Bruno Mars' guest spot of Bubble Butt that Major Lazer really make their mission statement: As long as you're dancing, they don't care where you're from.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Diplo's culture clash expands its horizons

Click here to buy Free the Universe by Major Lazer

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