LSD – ‘Labrinth, Sia, Diplo Present… LSD’ review

This is a collection of tried-and-tested bangers from some of the most recognisable voices in modern pop, but anyone looking for surprises will be disappointed

Between them, LSD’s members represent some of the most recognisable voices in modern pop.

A songwriting powerhouse turned pop star, complete with two-tone Cruella DeVille fringe, Sia has written hits for the likes of Rihanna and Beyoncé; and her solo material – top-notch belter ‘Chandelier’ particularly – is equally ubiquitous. Last year alone, Diplo’s songs across his various projects, from Major Lazer to his Mark Ronson collab Silk City, were streamed 2.3 billion times. And though Labrinth isn’t quite a household name in his own right, he’s certainly influenced enough of them with his distinct voice, collaborating with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, and the Weeknd.

Together as LSD, there’s a hope that these three artists are in this together to let loose, freed from the expectations of being names that virtually everyone knows.

We dress up in crazy outfits, mess around with Sgt. Pepper’s-esque visuals; we’ve created animations for the band,” Labrinth told Rolling Stone. “You can be ballsy and be out there. It feels like you’re not the frontman, so it allows us to go as crazy and as fucked-up as we want to go. And that works for us.”

Despite the garish psychedelic visuals, debut album ‘Labrinth, Sia, Diplo Present… LSD’ plays firmly to the three artists’ proven strengths. Sia’s always had talent for bending the tropes of pop music and making ridiculously specific metaphors work in choruses – You shoot me down but I won’t fall / I am titanium” she once sang for David Guetta – and her vocal is as powerful as ever. Labrinth (having dropped the auto-tune of his days collaborating with Tinie Tempah) has a voice packed with soul and feeling: on the record’s belty ballad ‘It’s Time’ he and Sia are both out in full force. And Diplo’s production – all snappy vocal chop-and-manipulation, and a pick’n’mix approach to genre – is embedded deep in the record’s arteries.

There are few surprises on  ‘Labrinth, Sia, Diplo Present… LSD’, not least because majority of these songs have been out for ages already. Stand-out moments such as ‘Genius and  ‘Thunderclouds’ are undeniably exceptional, but limitless explorations they are not. If it’s a collection of tried-and-tested bangers you’re after, showcasing three pop powerhouses at their proven best, then crack on. In search of a left-field album of crate-digging curveballs? You’re best looking elsewhere.