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After a sudden hiatus around a year ago, the creator of 'Levels' and 'Wake Me Up' has returned with a brand new EP, featuring the likes of AlunaGeorge, Rita Ora and Sandro Cavazza on two of the six tracks.
Avicii began teasing new tracks by uploading snippets to Instagram, before finally dropping the EP on Spotify on the 10th August.
"I'm really excited to be back with music once again, it has been a long time since I released anything and a long time since I was this excited over new music!" - Avicii
Avicii told fans, "My focus on this first EP of the album was to get a mix of new and old songs, some that fans have been asking about/waiting for mixed with brand new songs that they haven't heard before!"
For fans of Avicii, this is perfect, he's delivering what they asked. It's nothing groundbreaking or particularly original, but it works for what it is, and as far as country based EDM goes, it's pretty good. I wouldn't play this EP to someone if they wanted to get into Avicii, you're far better with his earlier songs in that respect. Although these songs are of a high quality and standard, they don't quite have the star quality or the 'bang' that many of his earlier tracks have.
The EP as a whole feels very coherent and familiar: generally fairly reserved. But with a new style from features such as AlunaGeorge, we definitely get a sense that Avicii isn't remaining stagnant in one place. The mix, as expected is squeaky clean, and the songs feel that they are only using the elements that they really need, which gives a sense of space which makes it nice to listen to, although, as with much EDM there is extremely heavy compression which makes the drops slightly underwhelming when listening at home.
Despite the fact that, throughout this EP, there is the resembling of the chordal progressions of a classic 'Hillsong' hit, particularly during without you, it is obvious that Avicii is going for his classic feel-good vibe, and it works very nicely.
It is worth pointing out that Cavazza's voice, despite giving his songs a lovely soulful quality, causes the songs to border slightly on Mumford territory, which you'll either love or hate. Sometimes, in this EP, listening in headphones, the music can feel quite tinny and cheap. However, in a live setting, I believe it would work extremely effectively.
Lonely together sees Rita Ora straining her voice far less than we're used to hearing — such as the throat ripper "R.I.P" It has a lighter quality, but still a bit of the soulfulness we know and love. The drop is predictable but very much danceable, whilst the 808 bass below is a nice addition to the track and makes it more contemporary.
The standout song for me is "What Would I Change To?" featuring Aluna Francis from AlunaGeorge. Not only does Aluna seem to have developed a new, pretty, but slightly mature quality to her singing, fitting in with the 'country' feel, that hasn't really been heard on many of her hit songs, but the harmony in this song is by far the most interesting of the six: jazzy and soulful in places, with hints of country elsewhere.
It's much more a verse-chorus structure than some of the more EDM centric material that Avicii has put out, but it fits the song perfectly, and I'm sure no one will have trouble dancing to it drop or not.
Avicii announced he would return with 'the best damn album' earlier in the year. I'm unconvinced if this is that 'offering', however, it paves the way for something new, and although there is a lot of the classic 'Avicii' sound, there is definitely a glimpse of something new.