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July 22, 2019   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Psychedelic power album is a work of genius

LSD

Labrinth, Sia and Diplo

Labrinth, Sia and Diplo joined forces and conceived an album, perfectly balancing their styles and strengths to produce a masterpiece that is as exceptional as its creators.

“LSD” is a colorful, psychedelic power-pop album that boasts a perfect blend of sounds. All three of the artists who contributed to this record are recognizable, and their one-of-a-kind styles and sheer knack for musicality stand out from most other musicians in the business today. The three are also wildly different from each other in the kinds of music they produce. Sia’s voice and her electro indie-pop style are instantly identifiable; Labrinth is known for his beautiful, bell-like tenor and R&B and hip hop songs; and Diplo is a DJ who produces intense EDM and dubstep remixes. It can be easy to assume that a trio comprised of people with completely different styles and backgrounds would clash horribly when thrown together, but that is not the case.

The album opens up with “Welcome to the Wonderful World of.” The first few seconds of the song’s sound are inspired by Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with layered harmony and powerful chords. The classic rock ballad’s influences run deep. At the end of the brief song, a voice rings out, “People of Earth, boys and girls, children of all ages/ Welcome to the wonderful world of/ Labrinth, Sia and Diplo!” The track acts as a hype man, boosting excitement for what is to come.

In the ninth song on the album, “It’s Time,” it becomes crystal clear how amazing “LSD” really is. Sia’s delightfully distinctive mumbled, scratchy voice layers together seamlessly with Labrinth’s sweet, clear cadence. Their singing works together to create a gospel-like sound as they echo harmonies back and forth to each other.

It is not only in “It’s Time” where Sia and Labrinth find the perfect balance in their voices. “Angel In Your Eyes” opens with Labrinth in a strained tenor with Sia coming in as a scratchy backup. Their sound is jaw-droppingly flawless. “Angel In Your Eyes” calls upon gospel influence yet again, but this time the song is chopped up and remixed to sound like an interesting mix of church music and dubstep. This is one song where Diplo shines in his role as DJ, and although the song is peculiar and might be unappealing for some, anyone who is a fan of EDM or dubstep will find satisfaction here.

Every single song seems to find something new to make it great. No track sounds the same, and in each one, there is some kind of element that will appeal to everyone. From the pop influences, to the classic rock elements, to the dance-club EDM, “LSD” really is an album for any kind of music fan. Even though there are appeals to each piece, the music is still noticeably strange. Sia is known for her eccentric fashion and for her seemingly incomprehensible artistic vision, and it seems like “LSD” leans heavily into what makes Sia so intriguing. “LSD,” besides being exceptionally well-made, is also exceptionally bizarre. With a name like “LSD,” the album doesn’t disappoint to make the listener feel like they are in the middle of a drug trip.

“Mountains” is one such song that throws the listener into a world of swirling, pleasantly perplexing color. Gentle, fuzzy, vaporwave vocals collide with airy harmonies and a strong, rhythm-driven electropop bridge and chorus. The lyrics are repetitive, but the varying beats and the increasing volume of the vocals offer up some variety without straying too far from the song’s colorful formula. Also, because of the vaporwave influences, Diplo steps forward again, offering up the beats and electronica to place a firm foundation for Sia and Labrinth to show off their voices.

“Genius” has a similar vibe to “Mountains,” but with less vaporwave. Genius is more driven by vocals than “Mountains,” but still offers up Diplo’s engaging beats that the listener can feel in their gut. The vocals dance on the ears, yet the song still manages to present itself as an intensely wonderful, distinctive club song.

Labrinth, Sia and Diplo raise the bar for collaborative records with “LSD.” By taking the risk of combining their wildly different styles, the three artists introduce one of the most glorious crossover albums of the year and firmly establish themselves as a musical triad of pure, unadulterated genius.