Skrillex and Diplo’s first album together has one purpose: moving bodies. But that simple quest has led the duo to a wonderfully trim set that’s as forward-sounding as any dance release in recent memory. Though they begin most of its 10 tracks in familiar territory, they quickly push on to new ground, or at least new levels of intensity. Early highlight “Beats Knockin’ ” adds industrial distortion and whiplash-inducing tempo changes to a frenzied New Orleans bounce reminiscent of Diplo’s “Express Yourself,” and “Jungle Bae” (featuring Trinidadian star Bunji Garlin) brings additional firepower to the Carnival-ready soca-EDM hybrid of Diplo’s Major Lazer project.
In dubstep’s peak days, Skrillex blasted through songs like these with overpowering explosions of computer-generated noise. Here, he and Diplo flip the script: On “Jungle Bae,” “Febreze” (which features 2 Chainz) and the single “Take Ü There,” sparse bass drops act as black holes, using negative space to change the gravitational pull of an entire track. Justin Bieber holds his own on the ballad “Where Are Ü Now,” but lesser guests are occasionally lost amid the restless drums and ricocheting synths. For listeners, though, getting lost in these tracks is half the fun.