Should’ve Known Better
Out At Night
We Were Just Kids
I Miss You
In Us I Believe
Say what you will about the musical prowess of Clean Bandit, there’s no denying the three men from Cambridge have taken the UK pop scene by force. Weaving an infectious array of simple lyrics with simplistic synthetic beats, Clean Bandit are a group that just seem to have the perfect formula for crafting chart hits.
As individual tracks and in short supply, Clean Bandit is audibly pleasing pop music but like gorging yourself on rich chocolate, there comes a point where you’ve had enough and it stops being enjoyable. There’s no denying that Clean Bandit’s studio album boasts a star studded line up of tracks and decent vocal talent but it all blends into one formulaic, uninspiring listen.
What Is Love? opens with Symphony; one of my personal guilty pleasures. From here, the album teases a more Latino style with tracks like Last Goodbye and Baby nestled between an array of chart monsters including Solo. Or the “woop, woop, woop” song as my 5 year old daughter so eloquently puts it.
The rest of the album follows a pretty conventional format, drawing on the vocal talents of artists like Craig David, Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora to sing over the simplistically produced synthetic beats. Hints of classical music chimes in at times, with a more Latino vibe slapped over a few of the tracks as mentioned earlier.
Critically and artistically, Clean Bandit’s album feels uninspired and relies heavily on the formulaic, by-the-numbers formula that’s made the group so successful in the past. Clean Bandit’s songs are infectious and memorable but as a 16 track album, What Is Love? does outstay its welcome. It’s infectious, feel-good pop void of any substantial meaning and in short supply that’s fine. As a 16 track studio album, only the most die-hard fans of Clean Bandit will enjoy this one from start to finish.
Verdict - 5/10