Strap in for some epic sounds because Gareth Emery has constructed a damn fine LP. The DJ/producer who played some of the best sets I heard in Las Vegas last year continues waking up electronic music fans on Drive.
Launching into a festival-worthy banger on “Entrada,” Emery has created a polished journey through the 12-track album that’s brilliantly produced with lush layers of composition (I didn’t even mind the builds and drops as much when they rev into gear). Walking the line between trance and house, the album’s warm and uplifting melodies awash the listener throughout.
Christina Novelli (yup, the same singer from his hit “Concrete Angel”) joins Emery again on “Dynamite.” Bo Bruce (a finalist from the U.K. version of The Voice) is featured on the first single “U” and Emery also teams up with his sister, Roxanne, on “Soldier.” But the big collaboration EDM fans will recognize is with Krewella on “Lights & Thunder,” a track gives the trio a cleaner, less glitchy big-room sound. There are a few unfamiliar faces as well, with Emery adding new vocal collaborators and producers to the Drive liner notes.
Emery’s musicianship shines through with fuller, more complex sounds than what is dominating the club scene as of late. Favorites from the album include “U,” “Beautiful Rage,” “Long Way Home” (a track perfect for winding down the album or even a set), and “Firebird.”
Drive will be released April 1 on Emery’s Garuda label. ★★★✩✩
Follow @DeannaRilling for her latest veteran musings on the electronic music scene.