Review Summary: Apologies to Mr. Steele
It hurts to write this, but I have to say it: Flux Pavilion's new EP is bad. There's no way around it. It's especially difficult to say it because I'm a longtime fan of Flux. His Lines In Wax EP was one of the first full releases I could call my own - as a member of the influx of electronic music fans in the so-called "EDM revolution" in America, Flux Pavilion was one of the first producers I discovered. Though my previous experience in electronic music had consisted almost entirely of Skrillex, The Crystal Method's Vegas, and Pendulum's Immersion, Flux Pavilion (a.k.a. Joshua Steele) was willing to show me the proverbial way. He introduced me to a world full of great music about which I never would have dreamed before. Lines In Wax was one of the first stepping stones on my admittedly short path into electronic music, and for that I feel a great sense of obligation to Flux Pavilion. After all, though in retrospect Lines In Wax was decent at best, the joy I felt listening to it the first few times was incredible, and I greedily tore into the rest of the electronic music out there afterwards. Plus, I respect Steele as a person - through the two AMAs (interview-type forum threads) on Reddit he's done since he made it big, he's garnered my admiration as a humble man who works hard on every endeavor he undertakes.
Due to my feelings about Flux Pavilion, it's painful for me to say that Blow The Roof
is a bad release. I can't deny that it is, though - it's trashy, it's repetitive in all the wrong ways, and most importantly it's simply not interesting. The nasally synths Steele used with such success on his previous material are starting to get annoying, and the fact that he employs them on every single track on the EP doesn't help anything. When having any sort of discernible melody at all is lauded as a huge step forward, as in "Starlight", it's not a good thing. Praised by many for actually having legitimate chords, it's unsurprisingly a highlight of a dismal EP - Flux Pavilion is actually doing something different for once, though to be fair the results are mixed in this particular case. The problem with the song (and much of the release) is it feels like a poorly-thought-out attempt at "anthemic," and the uneasy feeling that everything here was made specifically for the arena doesn't help its quality.
The main problem, though, is the trashiness of everything here. While distortion can often be a good thing, the degree to which Steele uses distortion and wobbles is obnoxious. "Blow The Roof" is a prime example of this, as an aggravating vocal sample falls over some of the worst song construction I've heard in a long time. It sounds like all Flux did was compress the s**t out of a power chord and add in some terrible sound effects on top. Unfortunately, this is the story of the EP for the most part - "Blow The Roof," instead of being a single bump in the road, is part of a whole cache of tracks like it. "I Still Can't Stop" (a VIP of his massive "I Can't Stop), "Double Edge," and "Do Or Die" (which also suffers from an abysmal rap from Childish Gambino) all involve both the same trashiness as "Blow The Roof" and the same "anthemic" qualities as "Starlight," and this doesn't bode well for the success of Blow The Roof
Sure, there are some decent songs here as well. "I Feel It" is nice in that it's somewhat of a departure from the "stereotypical EDM" of the rest of the release, and it's more of a nice, distorted house tune than the omnipresent "trashy" wobbles that make up most of the other songs. Unfortunately, though, songs like this don't make up for the missteps on Blow The Roof
. As a Flux Pavilion fan, I hate to say this, but this release marks a breaking off of my blind, previously undying support for Steele. The anthemic, nasally goodness of his previous releases is starting to grate, but until he realizes this he'll be nothing more than a figure for people to lambast and cite as a source of where electronic music goes wrong.