Lazers Never Die
Major Lazer’s outrageous music videos, the association with lightning-rod pop star M.I.A., and the cartoonish album art have all contributed to their outrageously high profile. But all that nonsense has nothing to do with their music, which — duh? — deserves to be heard without prejudice.
The Lazers Never Die EP comprises two new tracks and three remixes of songs from their album Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do. “Sound Of Siren” features M.I.A. on the chorus and Busy Signal as MC, and though it’s a dancehall track, the bare marching beat and muted bells give it a menacing atmosphere. ”Good Enough” is the Lazer’s take on roots reggae; Collie Buddz on the chorus and Lindi Ortega on the verse sing strong melodies over the rock steady beat.
“Can’t Stop Now” gets the remix treatment from Kicks Like A Mule, who flips it back and forth between dubbed out sections and ragga-style breakbeats. ”Bruk Out” gets re-fitted by Buraka Som Sistema with a Soca/Kwaito/Baile Funk beat. Thom Yorke shows once again that he’s still down with the kids with his “Jump Up” remix, which is probably the most jarring remix here. His instrumental has some of that trademark Radiohead miserableness, which seems at least a hemisphere apart from the barked Dancehall vocals. It’s an odd juxtaposition, though that’s not necessarily bad.
Top tracks for me are “Good Enuff” which wins with its irresistible melody, and “Can’t Stop Now,” which, in contrast with Thom Yorke’s remix, makes it’s unusual musical choices fit naturally with the vocals pulled out of the original track. Major Lazer have never been bashful about appropriating musical styles where ever they find them; every song they make seems to be trying to remix the entire global street culture all at once. On Lazers Never Die they manage to duct tape all their influences together into a fun, listenable package.