Djrum is one of the most intriguing producers of the last few years. With his two EPs on 2nd Drop Records, he showcased a style that was rich and individual, one that reflected sounds of the time while presenting something new. He was mercurial, moving between steady 4/4 rhythms and dubstep-inspired beats with elegant fluidity. His productions were sleek and lush, and as songs they were emotionally complex—something that made him seem like an unusually good candidate for an album.
All of which only makes it more surprising that Seven Lies is a bit of a clunker. For sure, Djrum's debut album is very well-produced, but beneath his impressive sound design lies a songwriting sensibility that too often feels cheesy. To varying extents throughout Seven Lies, trite vocals and sample choices detract from productions that are otherwise very pretty and inspired.
Much of the usual Djrum magic is there: the beats are irregular and buoyant, and the imagery is crystal clear (I guess that's what you call "cinematic"). But soon the other side starts to grate. Most of the vocal samples feel hackneyed or too traditional: "he's a sinner, a sinner from the ghetto"; "do I need you"; "London city warlord" etc., all sound like bland echoes of UK bass culture. On a similar note, both appearances from guest vocalist Shadwbx hurt the album: her style is about as subtle as the spelling of her name. Even Djrum's signature cinematic flourishes feel a bit clichéd—but then again, at this point so does the very notion of soundtrack-inspired electronic music.
Part of what made Djrum so exciting was that he felt modern—here, he sounds quite dated. Listening to Seven Lies, I remember how I felt when I first heard certain records by Nine Inch Nails: it seems odd that such a clearly gifted producer can sound so banal. Djrum could very well have a great album in him, but unfortunately this isn't it.
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Tracklist: Djrum - Seven Lies01. Obsession
02. Como Los Cerdos
04. Arcana (Do I Need You)
05. Lies feat. Shadwbx
07. Arcana (coda)
08. Anchors feat. Shadwbx