Major Lazer

Apocalypse Soon EP

Last year, in this very space, we opined while reviewing Free the Universe, superproducer Diplo’s second full-length collection under the guise of Major Lazer, that he works best when focusing on the dancehall roots of this electronic side project. Wish granted: this five-track EP has the steamy, summery sound of a Jamaican club in full riot mode. It’s minimalistic in the good sense, heavy on accelerating kick-drum rolls and crescendoing klaxon squeals for dynamics, and each track boasts its own guest star, including reggae veteran Sean Paul. The most immediately ear-catching confection is leadoff cut “Aerosol Can,” which puts the spotlight on Pharrell Williams’ playful, tongue-twisting freestyle. It recalls last year’s similarly weightless “Bubble Butt” collaboration with Bruno Mars, but this one has the good sense not to outstay its welcome. However, the real keeper in this batch is the Machel Montano vehicle “Sound Bang,” with a fuller sound and a big, bright, island-kissed hook, reinforced by acoustic guitar and mariachi horns. Expect it—and this EP—to have the staying power to last until it’s summer for real.

Mad Decent/Secretly Canadian

“Sound Bang”