EDM. It’s a genre that’s in overdrive with no signs of slowing down. Flocks of superstar DJs roam the globe, blasting distorted basslines and synthesisers to fields of adoring on-lookers. It’s not the most subtle of subcultures – it’s loud, obnoxious and unapologetic, three words that can be used to summarise the first full-length release from DJ “super group”, Jack U.
The creation of noise mongers Skrillex and Diplo, Jack U basks in the absurdity of the sounds they create. Mixing electro house, dubstep, pop, reggae and any other genre they can think of, the producers succeed in making a collection of tracks that you can look forward to hearing time and time again this summer.
‘Beats Knockin’ throws the listener in at the deep end, conjuring up images of late night house parties and dance festival crowds jumping up and down, it’s destined to become a crowd pleaser at events such as Creamfields and Tomorrowland.
They don’t skimp on the festival anthems either. ‘Febreze’ featuring 2 Chains and ‘Jungle Bae’ featuring Bunji Garlin both induce scenes of lunacy, with the Diplo influence propelling these tracks into a bassheads daydream.
It’s all well and good, but things start to get interesting when they add a bit of emotion into their tracks. Single ‘Take U There’, featuring Canadian songstress Kiesza, was a hit because of the light and shade the vocalist injected into proceedings, and this is proven true when highlight ‘To U’ is elevated to a different platform, thanks in no small part to the contribution of Aluna George.
The producers really do make the most of their enviable list of contacts, even recruiting teen sensation Justin Bieber to sing on ‘Where Are U Now’. It’s a testament to the duo that this track is actually, more or less, bearable, despite Bieber’s best efforts.
As the album closes with a (largely unnecessary) Missy Elliot remix of ‘Take U There’, you can imagine the DJs could create tracks like these all day, every day if they wanted to. Diplo and Skrillex have succeeded in creating an album full of party anthems on cruise control. What’s annoying about that is, the album leaves you asking: “Wow, what could they do if they actually pushed themselves?”
But that was never on the Jack U agenda. Their mission was to create some fun dance music and celebrate the ridiculous nature of EDM. They’ve done that in spades, and as they tour the world playing shows to festival crowds, to boats full of party revellers and to all night ravers, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy with the fruits of their labour.
Skrillex and Diplo present Jack U is out now via WEA International.