Mission Accomplished. Major Lazer yet again produce another barnstorming album. Peace Is The Mission is the third studio album from the electronic 4-piece, and in true Lazer fashion, delivers bopper after bopper.
The album kicks off with the opening track ‘Be Together‘ featuring an ethereal opening leading into a humble vocal driven number, leaving a little to be desired in terms of driving anthem that we’ve become accustom to, yet still the chilled dance vibe it brings to the album start is a thoroughly head-noddable tune. the drum production gives hints of a certain A$AP Rocky‘s debut studio album, taking influence from new school hip hop & pulls it off perfectly. Feat. Wilde Belle, the American sibling duo, the soft vocal compliments the almost shy backing and shows how versatile this young band are venturing into a genre that is so far from their own.
‘Too Original‘ the second track throws us into the familiarity of previous Major Lazer works with the four-to-the-floor drum patterns firmly setting us up for the anthem developing. Yet another collaboration presents itself, this time with Elliphant the 29 year-old rapper hailing from Sweden, and it’s fair to say she brings on a car of Stockholm syndrome with this performance, firmly establishing herself with strong lyrical flow throughout. Having worked with Skrillex in 2013, she has propelled herself up the ladder & been part of one of the standout tracks on this record. The vague whiffs of reggae weave their way into this track giving us just a taste of what is to come in the remaining tracks on the mission.
Following the reggae vibe of ‘Too Original’, ‘Blaze Up The Fire‘ follows suit with yet another bouncer. The opening 12 bars may as well transport us to Fenway Park with the build up to a pitch, also reminiscent of 8-bit arcade games, only dissuaded by the Jamaican vibes of Chronixx. This partnership solidly set in Carribbean lilt with a twist of Major Lazer, constantly changes its textural layers keeping you enthralled, particularly as the second chorus ditches the half time feel and heads in a more drum & bass orientated direction. Ending in a similar fashion to the first two tracks, the low key ending seamlessly blends into the next rack on this monstrous record.
Track 4 needs little to no introduction as this is the tune that the majority of people will be most familiar with off this album. ‘Lean On‘ took the charts in March 2015 as the first single released preceding the album and reached No. 4 in the UK singles chart already creating a huge hype around this release. Along with Danish songstress MØ, Lazer have produced an instantly memorable tune from the fairly simple lyrical format to the extensively pitch shifted chorus riff, proving their ability to dish out hit after hit. Hints of chill step emerge from the sunny ‘driving’ dong yet still stable with Lazer tradition with deep rooted samples playing an integral part.
From one strong vocal performance to another, Ellie Goulding‘s trademark tone thrusts ‘Powerful‘ to life from the outset. Although the opening section sounds a little like a 14 year old has just found the flanger insert on a trial version of Cubase, this 6/8 swing feel wouldn’t be out of place in the ‘50 Shades of Grey‘ soundtrack with hints of The Weekend thrown in. The rough soulful tone of Tarrus Riley contrasts excellently with the smooth Goulding voice throughout. The outro of just Ellie’s vocal and soft piano backing with the high frequencies rolled off, gives a subtle nod to the ever popular ‘Feeling Good‘.
The following two tracks ‘Light It Up‘ & ‘Roll The Bass‘ certainly are two of the more schizophrenic tracks on the album, with rapid changes in both drum patterns swapping between half time, and double time but taking influence from moombahton & dubstep with the varying synth riffs in the drops. Two less prominent tunes from the album but by no means the classic ‘album fillers’ as these are two huge tracks in their own right.
Closing the album, is the track featuring some of the biggest names on this album. Travis $cott, 2-Chainz, Pusha T, & Mad Cobra all feature on ‘Night Riders‘ which again clearly takes a lot of influence from new school hip-hop with perfectly fits with these artists. One of the more aggressive tracks on this record with extensive use of distortion particularly on the vocals and bass synth throughout give it a real attack, bringing a totally new aspect to this album. This is certainly a grower of a tune and quickly becoming my standout track. There’s been no holding back for Major Lazer on Peace Is The Mission; all i can say is I can’t wait for their UK tour this autumn.
Photo: Steve Stills/ Red Bull Content Pool
Featured Photo: Catie Laffoon