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Review: Swedish House Mafia's 'Until Now'

October 22, 2012|By Mikael Wood
  • CD cover of "Until Now" by Swedish House Mafia.
CD cover of "Until Now" by Swedish House Mafia. (AP Photo / Astralwerks )

Like a snippet of a hit song in one of their fast-moving DJ sets, the dance-music megastars of Swedish House Mafia are leaving us almost as soon as they arrived. On Nov. 16 the Stockholm trio — which started affecting Top 40 charts in 2010 with the Pharrell Williams collaboration "One" — will launch its so-called One Last Tour, a global trek scheduled to play the 35,000-capacity Los Angeles State Historic Park next March.

You can understand the group's early retirement as a going-out-on-top maneuver. (Surely that's how Swedish House Mafia understands it.) But might Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso be going out too early? "Until Now," their second full-length, comes just as a growing crew of dance producers — including Avicii, Zedd and Calvin Harris, who this week supplanted Swedish House Mafia at the top of England's singles chart — are moving successfully into pop.

And nothing about this vocal-heavy set suggests an aversion to pop. In "Calling (Lose My Mind)" Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic works his sensitive-dude falsetto over surging synths, while a remix ofColdplay's "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" somehow boosts that tune's earnest effervescence. "Don't You Worry Child," featuring John Martin, is even more immediate, with a throbbing keyboard riff and a lyric about meeting "a girl of a different kind." It sounds more like a beginning than an end.

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"Until Now"

Swedish House Mafia

(Astralwerks)

2 1/2 stars

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