Judging by all the pre-release talk of shunning EDM, steering dance music back into a proper direction and making a piece of art, you’d expect Steve Angello’s second solo LP, Wild Youth, to be something of a game-changer. So it’s slightly baffling to hear that the Stockholm DJ has delivered the kind of unadventurous, generic and largely forgettable record he appears to be rallying against.
Indeed, featuring guest appearances from the likes of The Temper Trap’s Dougy Mandagi (“Wasted Love”), Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds (“Someone Else”) and singer-songwriter Gary Go (“Prisoner”), much of Wild Youth sticks to the emotive indie-rock vocals/soaring progressive house template that defined Swedish House Mafia’s career before the supergroup split at the top of their game in 2013.
Beyond the use of a children’s choir on “Children of the Wild” and the annoyingly infectious whistle hook of “Last Dance,” the only time that Steve Angello truly mixes things up a little is when he slows things down. “Revolution,” a collaboration with US vocalist David Garza and Italian DJ Francesco Rossi, is a surprisingly subtle and atmospheric piece of chillout perfect for watching the Ibiza sunset. With her piercing Kate Bush-esque tones, fellow Swede Julia Spada lends an otherworldly quality to the leftfield synth-pop of “The Ocean,” while “Tiger” is an intriguing instrumental which veers from cinematic ambience to bubbling Moroder-esque electronica.
Of course, Wild Youth will no doubt inspire plenty of hands-in-the-air moments across this year’s EDM festivals. But in contrast to Steve Angello’s misguided claims, it certainly won’t spearhead a dance music revolution.