James Egbert - Friction
Friction snuck under the wire of 2016 being released on 12/30/16 where the music business is in a known lull. The music fits squarely in the EDM genre though occasional flirts with Trance, Dub-Step and Progressive House throughout. This record is definitely not about turning down that is for sure. That is until the title track "Friction" which is much more of a swirling ambient song, and this sort of signals a change where Egbert embraces a much more electro sound. The shift is a bit jarring, you are expecting the record to be one very specific thing and then suddenly it is something else. That happens multiple times on this record, really portraying Egbert as more of DJ than a producer. But often the music is pretty damn good; "I Found You" has so many moments that call back Daft Punk, and each new track reminds you of some other moment in electronic music. Friction then becomes more of a retrospective than a new album. With his vocals Egbert uses autotune almost exclusively only allowing a couple songs to become a little like ballads. "Here" falls much more on the Progressive House side of things, but then a song like "Tiny" is a pure pop EDM gem, what in the hell is going on?
If this review sounds scrambled, it's because that is exactly what the record is. There is no vision, no focus, yet it is fun as hell. It really seems like instead of trying to say something with Friction James Egbert wanted you to feel something, something special and bright. The lyrics on "Pay It Forward" are way to on the nose "Give it away/get it back again"but once the lyrics drop you have this really great pounding beat and plenty of laser sounds. It is easy to write off a lot of EDM as pandering but Egbert seems so earnest in his delivery of it, He really believes in this music and wants you to as well. At a first glance you really can find yourself wanting to not like this record, but it gets in to you and despite the occasional Dub-Step misfire, "Gamma", the record really does sound good. Put Mr. Egbert on your list, because we might be hearing something very big very soon from him.
7.0 out of 10