×

Album Review: LSD’s ‘Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present… LSD’

Great as they may look on paper, supergroups can be a Clash of the Alphas, an ego pileup where the listener can practically hear the musical elbows being thrown. And while that was certainly possible with LSD — a supergroup comprised of veteran hitmakers Sia (who’s written and/or produced songs for Rihanna, Katy Perry, Britney), Diplo (Beyonce, MIA, Justin Bieber) and Labrinth (The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Kygo) — what’s remarkable is how smoothly they work together, and how much genuine pleasure the three seem to take in this collaboration.

That’s not particularly surprising for a couple of reasons: While all three are well known as artists, songwriters and producers, all three are also chronic collaborators — Sia has worked with both of them in the past, most prominently with Diplo on her 2014 hit “Elastic Heart.” The trio also released one of 2018’s most irresistible singles — “Thunderclouds,” made ubiquitous by a Samsung ad last summer — and while nothing else on LSD’s debut album approaches that one’s brilliance (hey, not many recent songs do), there are several gems in its nine tracks.

Many of these songs were released in advance, and most of them work better in the context of this album than as singles. “Angel in Your Eyes” has a playful melody cast over a blipping electronic rhythm; “Genius” (also included as a superfluous remix featuring Lil Wayne) has a stately musical track that recalls many Sia songs; the closing “It’s Time” is a heartfelt Sia ballad.

But even for a casual listener, a large part of the album’s appeal is the way the three share the spotlight, and the way their sonic trademarks come to the fore. Sia and Labrinth are both stellar singers, so there’s plenty of his soaring melodies and her sky-scraping yelps and whoops and cooed verses; they trade verses frequently. Likewise, both Labrinth and Diplo have strong Caribbean influences in their work, but very different ones: the former tends toward reggae through the lens of his British homeland, while the latter is more dancehall and ska-influenced, with a jaunty bounce in his rhythms and embellishments like the mariachi horns in “Thunderclouds.” Their mutual respect and production skills ensure that they rarely get in each other’s way.

Be all of that as it may, it seems near-miraculous that these three profoundly in-demand and overscheduled artists were able to complete this album at all, so we should probably make the most of “LSD” and not hold our collective breath for the follow-up.

Album Review: LSD's 'Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present... LSD'

More Music

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Phillip Kovac, Concert Industry Veteran, Dies at 65

    Phillip Kovac, a veteran concert promoter, transportation executive and music manager, died in Los Angeles following a battle with PSP, a rare form of Parkinson’s. He was 65. The brother of longtime Motley Crue manager and Eleven Seven Music Group CEO Allen Kovac, Phillip was laid to rest at his home in Houston Texas on [...]

  • Soft Power review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Soft Power'

    The “culture-clash musical” is a familiar template, in which a white American protagonist — waving the flag of individuality, optimism and freedom — trumps and tramps over the complexities of that which is foreign, challenging or “other.” David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s “Soft Power,” the new “play with a musical” at Off Broadway’s Public [...]

  • Brandi Carlile Gets Red-Hot and 'Blue'

    Brandi Carlile Gets Red-Hot and 'Blue' Saluting Joni Mitchell at Disney Hall

    If nothing else was established by Brandi Carlile’s live recreation of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 “Blue” album — and plenty else was — it was that the 38-year-old singer has nerves even steelier than her vocal cords are pliable. Mitchell is as impossible to emulate as a ridiculously tricky singer, songwriter and picker as they come, which [...]

  • Rufus Wainwright Signs With BMG for

    Rufus Wainwright Signs With BMG for New Studio Album

    Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has signed a new global recordings agreement with BMG to release his upcoming studio album. The still-untitled album, Wainwright’s ninth of original material and first since 2012, is described in the announcement as “a return to form and his most accessible album to date.” To that end, it is “the bookend” to [...]

  • E23071117.JPGMÉXICO, D.F., Decease-Artist/Deceso-Artistas.- Existe el mito

    Janis Joplin Biographer Explores the Legend's Love of Musical Desegregation

    New York Times bestselling author Holly George-Warren had an intimate discussion with moderator Scott Goldman at the Grammy Museum on Monday, discussing her new book “Janis: Her Life and Music,” which was followed by a special performance by the singer Pearl. The book was released in October, preceding likely interest in a film adaptation of [...]

  • Jagged Little Pill Business of Broadway

    Listen: How 'Jagged Little Pill' Will Rock Broadway

    “Jagged Little Pill” wasn’t originally written with Broadway in mind — but the songs on Alanis Morissette’s smash-hit 1995 album do exactly what good musical theater songs should do, according to the upcoming show’s creators and producers. Listen to this week’s podcast below: The team explained why on Variety‘s theater podcast, “Stagecraft,” in an episode [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content