Calvin Harris – ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2’ review: an all-star grab-bag of sun-drenched sounds

The super-producer's sixth album takes you on a journey to a star-studded boogie wonderland – with Dua Lipa, Justin Timberlake and more in tow

Five years ago, Calvin Harris released ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’. A hook-laden, nostalgic collection filled with big-name guests, tropical production – and, as the title would suggest – a hefty dose of funk. It was an ideal soundtrack to the summer months, marking the transformation of the Dumfries artist, born as Adam Wiles, from EDM hero making chart-topping belters to trendy super-producer with a penchant for laidback nu-disco.

Now, half a decade on, Harris has returned to this sonic world with his sixth studio album ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2’ – but this time around he approached things differently. With ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’, he shaped the songs in the same way he had dance and EDM tracks, creating electronic beats and then working with guest artists for vocal lines. For its sequel, though, he embraced live sounds. As he told Apple Music: “I want the layers and the grit and the dirt – and I don’t want everything to be mixed perfectly.”

The effects of this see ‘Vol. 1’s’ sun-drenched sound fused with earthy instrumentation: squelchy bass lines, cinematic strings (‘New to You’) and roaring guitar solos (‘Somebody Else’, ‘Potion’). This adds personality and warmth to his sound – something the bevvy of guests also contribute to. The Scottish producer has once again pulled out his impressive Rolodex, calling in a host of big-name pals to contribute to the record – over 20 feature across the LP’s 14 tracks – and each artist’s respective sound spun through this jubilant soundscape.

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The Dua Lipa and Young Thug featuring lead single ‘Potion’ – which sees the former purr, “Late night conversations, electric emotions / Sprinkled with a little bit of sex, and it’s a potion” – is a sultry, carefree jam. Then there’s the Justin TimberlakeHalsey and Pharrell Williams team-up ‘Stay with Me’, a whip-smart, Chic-indebted ode to dancing all night.

On ‘Obsessed’, Harris combines Charlie Puth‘s earnest vocals with dancehall hero Shenseea’s powerhouse verses, ending up with the ultimate infatuation banger. Puth’s hooky refrain of “I miss you every single day / But you don’t even look my way / I really wish that you were / Obsessed with me” is sure to soundtrack countless TikToks in the coming months. Meanwhile, on the sweltering ‘Woman of the Year’, which features Stefflon Don, Chlöe and Coi Leray, he gracefully spins the trio of guest artists’ parts over a glossy rhythm section, giving each a moment to shine.

On ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2’, the producer meshes a wistful grab-bag of influences – nu-disco, funk, boogie, soul – with his skill for creating a mega-watt pop-hit, taking listeners on a journey on a psychedelic trip you won’t want to end.

Details

Release date: August 5

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Record label: Columbia

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