Despite being discovered by Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso, 23-year-old DJ Alessandro Lindblad, aka Alesso, has lately made a considerable effort to tell everyone that his debut album, Forever, sounds nothing like the stadium-filling EDM of the now defunct supergroup.
It’s not quite clear whether the 23-year-old has simply been trolling, or is just plain deluded, as with the exception of the melancholic string-soaked instrumental closer, “Immortale,” every single one of its 14 tracks could easily have been lifted from the trio’s rather slim back catalog.
Alesso’s ear for musical distinction may be rather questionable, but his ear for matching infectious melodies with the latest wave of Scandinavian pop divas certainly isn’t, with the likes of Tove Lo (“Heroes”), Sirena (“Sweet Escape”) and Noonie Bao (“All My Love”) all adding a sweetly-sung local flavor to the album’s international ambitions.
However, the undisputed highlights arrive courtesy of two tracks based on existing material. Featuring the vocal talents of Roy English, “Cool” is a gloriously uplifting slice of progressive house which samples Kylie Minogue’s 2010 hit, “Get Outta My Way,” while “If I Lose Myself” sees Alesso give OneRepublic’s tentative foray into electronica a more convincing full-throttle makeover.
Of course, having already spawned six singles, including the chart-topping Calvin Harris and Hurts collaboration “Under Control,” much of Forever will already be familiar to even the most casual of dance music fans.
And although he’s recently claimed that the EDM genre isn’t as soulless and simple as its detractors suggest, there’s little here to prove otherwise, with the frantic raves of “Payday” and “Tear The Roof Up” in particular barely possessing a brain cell between them.
Resembling a multi-artist compilation more than a cohesive studio effort, Alesso’s Forever is the kind of dance record that practically invites the listener to pick and mix. But those missing the soaring hedonism of Ingrosso and co. could do worse than check out one of their most reluctant proteges.