After months of anticipation, DJ Snake‘s debut album finally arrived earlier this week. Though Snake has achieved mainstream success with monster singles like “Get Low” and “Lean On,” his efforts on Encore are more than a stab at popularity. Instead, the album is a nuanced picture of an artist with eclectic inspirations and a wide range of sonic talents.
The LP’s strongest suits are tracks where Snake’s collaborators are kept to a minimum and the producer’s signature sound is allowed to flourish. Downtempo crossover “Sober,” for example, pits vocalist JRY’s earnest plea against a spare, enchanting beat. The result is an affecting track with a Vampire Weekend-esque guitar lick that brings sonic levity to a quintessential Millennial complaint: “You never call me when you’re sober.”
Encore also features two turns from Bipolar Sunshine. Firstly,”Middle” which has been receiving international support since its release as an advance single earlier this year. The latter “Future Pt 2” is a fusion of classic Justice style electro funk and trace amounts of classic UK garage.
Justin Bieber’s cameo on “Let Me Love You” is another high point. In true maverick form, the track has already rocketed to the number 1 slot on iTunes without ever receiving a true single release. The song also bears DJ Snake’s signature sound with simple, vaguely tropical production and a “Lean On” style synth melody.
Of all the hip hop crossover tracks on the album, “4 Life” is by far the strongest. Where other tracks get bogged down in maximalism, the production here is restrained and clean. G4shi delivers a compelling turn with biting vocals drenched in overly liquored languor.
Perhaps the most exciting track on the album, though, is the album’s dark closer “Here Comes The Night” featuring Mr Hudson. Known for his production work on Kanye’s infamously solemn 808s and Heartbreak, Hudson puts his synth heavy proclivities to work and delivers a raw vocal hook. Expert production keeps the whole thing from sliding into depressive territory. Instead the track sparkles with an effervescent melancholy. Bullet shell samples have never sounded so bubbly.