Sonny Moore (AKA Skrillex) has very rapidly ascended to the top bill of the surging electronic scene. Championing the genre of “brostep” – obnoxiously loud drops with build ups replacing the verses – Skrillex became the marmite of music; you either repped his music at parties at the highest volume, or you were banging on the door telling them to switch it off.
Often compared to a whirring, discombobulated crash of sonic noise (good or bad), it was very hard to imagine his sound becoming mainstream. But mainstream it was with the Olympics playing his songs and the Grammys giving him three awards last year, the 26 year old artist has become the one on everyone’s lips, if you praise him or not.
With his previous EP, Long Year, quietly floundering to meet the hype surrounding him, he has followed it up with his first ever full length album, Recess. Trying to appease the people with more gentle ears, he has tried to vary his sound but with mixed success. Ultimately, his album is less cohesive, without a joining sound that flows throughout. Known for his “bangers“, his brostep roots are still scattered throughout his LP but they won’t win over the naysayers if they weren’t fans already.
Starting off with the high points of his album. One of the few words that I would use to describe his album is diversity. Moving away from his signature genre, Sonny teams up with the rising emcee, Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment, on the song, Coast is Clear. While it is lyrically lacking, it makes up for it in the overall sound. The song seems to have been taken straight out of Chance’s acclaimed EP, Acid Rap (with a slight bass boost), and it plays perfectly to each other’s strengths.It moves away from the drop heavy vibes of say, his Bangarang EP, but instead gives subtle nods to the two-step genre.
I felt that the songs on his album that did stick within the brostep genre were generally weaker than before, but I can admit that his current single, Ragga Bomb (ft Ragga Twins) is an undeniable blaster of a song; designed for ASBO-inducing levels of volume to be pumped into your eardrums. The dancehall/brostep clanger fits comfortably within his better work. The distorted vocals, the glitchy build-up and the inevitable apocalyptic drop do not hold back and is probably one of the more prominent songs in the album.
Another interesting track on the album is the song, Stranger (ft Killagraham and Sam Dew). Venturing into dance/pop, Skrillex seems to have taken the tone and general sound of Disclosure’s album, Settle, with the almost boyish vocals and ponked it in between an absurdly high synth drop.
Bad points. What unquestionably is the worst song in the album is the equally dubiously named, Doompy Poomp (ft Mishka). It sounds a lot like Sonny is trying to tune a cheap, Poundland radio and on top of that, it contains one of the most irritating, jumpy, high-pitched squeals that acts as the backbone of the song – I just had to skip it. Later remixing a song by Niki and the Dove, Skrillex brings forth, Ease My Mind, but struggles to add anything interesting to the song other than the middle-eastern synths on top.
The problem with Recess is that it fails to figure out where it is going: should it stay within the brostep genre and go all out with the festival destroying drops or should it try and go a different route with genres such as moombahton, trap or techno? With Skrillex dabbling in side projects including Jack U and Dog Blood maybe this will cross pollinate into a future Skrillex record. The album doesn’t answer that question and kind of flounders in no-man’s land with some interesting offerings but mostly otherwise, average songs.
What did you guys think? Did the album meet the hype? Do you even like Skrillex and why? Let me know in the comment section below.