Ex-Swedish House Mafioso finds a new calling on a surprisingly rich and varied solo album
It's only January, but Steve Angello's Wild Youth already feels like an album that electronic dance music fans will be playing well into the summer. Angello helped bring EDM to a wider audience as a member of Swedish House Mafia, the now-defunct trio he was part of with fellow Nordic production powerhouses Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso. On his first solo album since the group's dissolution, he sends them an emotional farewell on a passionate song called "Remember." The rest of the album is dedicated to highlighting Angello's strengths as a one-man production team – a job it performs well as anthem after anthem flow seamlessly, each track feeling notably different from the last while still folding neatly into the next.
While Wild Youth is sprinkled with the conventional builds and drops that define big-room EDM, it's mostly rooted in pop structures, even dipping into a darker Nineties electronica sound with "The Ocean." It's not a collection of festival bangers, like most Swedish House Mafia material was, but something deeper and more personal – a glimpse into Angello's history over 20 years of DJing and music-making. From the massive prog-dubstep synths of "Rebel Nation" to the lush and layered atmospheric glide of "Stay (Saints of Valory)," Wild Youth is a reminder that Angello is a solo dance force to take seriously.