Swedish House Mafia, "Until Now" (Astralwerks/Virgin)
Swedish House Mafia, a trio of electronic DJs and producers, have ruled mega-concert dance floors for a few years now. But a quandary for them has risen out of years of success: deliver more of the same or break new creative ground? With "Until Now," they've opted for the former.
Swedish House Mafia is Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, and what they've delivered is not bad house music, per se. If you like your beats fast and loud and mostly devoid of the funky Chicago/Detroit framework that gave birth to the genre, the album will suit you fine. It is, however, underneath the flat mixing and uninventive tempo builds, a touch simplistic.
Songs like "Don't You Worry Child" and "In My Mind," the latter an Axwell remix of an Ivan Gough and Feenixpawl tune, are achingly basic in approach and delivery. If you've ever heard any electronica, you'll know every note that is about to come and every drumroll that looms around each corner.
Slightly better is "Lights," which dives deep into a matrix of percussion, zipping them together quickly and then slowing them down to a simmer when needed. The track sizzles with urgency and is a better crafted mix than most others on "Until Now."
Check this out: "Save the World," an international hit, has a nearly tribal feel in the middle of the track, with a much deeper resonance than the heady fare of the previous songs. This is one worth working up a serious sweat over.