Flume – Skin

Australian DJ Flume expands into a more recognizable lane on his second effort, featuring many more songs with the presence of an array of guest vocalists such as Vic Mensa, Tove Lo, Raekwon and Beck. As proven by the current popularity of single “Never Be Like You”, Flume proves here that he has a penchant for pop hooks and has the potential to expand into the lane of mainstream radio like his contemporaries The Chainsmokers, DJ Snake and Calvin Harris. I would be interested in seeing what results from Flume taking on production duty for an established pop artist’s album. About half of the songs here, however, are Flume alone doing what he does best on the turntables. The smattering across the album of these types of songs are where the album fails as a cohesive unit. Flume’s sounds are extremely experimental, and at times it feels like listening to more of an ambient and atmospheric movie soundtrack rather than a song. While this is extremely artistic in its own right, it is not something I would enjoy listening to on a daily basis. At a lengthy 16 tracks as well, the album does drag on. While Flume is set to dominate the festival circuit with this new body of work, stretched to album length an EDM project of this kind stretches thin. The ideas are there, the execution is not.

The main strength of this album is Flume’s ability to adapt to his guests and give them the best possible soundscape in order for them to shine and enhance the overall quality of the song with their presence. The lack of this ability is what has caused me to not enjoy other EDM projects as much, such as Disclosure’s recent Caracal, since their sound is so firmly established. Flume is much more artistically diverse, providing a bouncy electro-pop beat for Tove Lo on “Say It”, a dream-pop synth journey through the clouds for Little Dragon on “Take A Chance”, and a bombastic rap instrumental for Vic Mensa on “Lose It” to create some of the album’s best songs. In future, I hope that Flume sticks more to songs which are accompanied by a featured vocalist, as his pulsating, rhythmically experimental surges of synths do not stand alone incredibly well. Many interesting ideas are experimented with here, and unfortunately fall quite flat, becoming unlistenable. Songs such as “Wall F*ck” and “Free” attempt to create sounds which have likely never existed anywhere before, but simply do not work at all. The beat of “Free” goes too hard for too long, and the accompanying treble melody is repeated ad nauseam. “Wall F*ck” attempts to create a song out of repeating brief, second-long sections of sound and stringing them together. A well-executed version of this would be very interesting indeed. “Innocence” is a 6-minute song which goes absolutely nowhere and is almost all ambience. Not even the usually brilliant AlunaGeorge can save this one. The highs, however, are very high indeed and Flume should stick to these huge pop hooks, as they will do well in advancing him in the increasingly competitive scene of EDM music.

Favorite Tracks: Never Be Like You, Take a Chance, Lose It, Tiny Cities

Least Favorite Track: Innocence

Score: 5/10

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