Joshua Steele, known on stage as Flux Pavilion, is one of the pioneers of modern bass music. His tracks have paved the way for artists to thrive in the realm of electronic music today. Even Kanye West and Jay-Z sampled Steele’s iconic track “I Can’t Stop” in their song “Who Gon Stop Me.” With his debut album, Tesla, released on his own label, Circus Records, the British EDM artist said he wanted to “concentrate on what Flux is” in an interview with YourEDM;however, there is no hint as to what that effort yielded.
In the buildup to the release, fans were either pining for songs with typical Flux Pavilion flavour or for a whole new sound. In an attempt to appease both crowds, Tesla landed somewhere in the between with safe, generic sounds. Certain tracks on the album take steps forwards, but they are few and far between in a mess of mediocrity. Despite the quality of the collaborations, the vocal talent was not able to save the album from being a forgettable clash of sounds, for the most part. Nevertheless, Tesla is not a poor album; it is simply underwhelming considering the reputation that the artist has gained the past few years in the EDM community.
By far, the vocals are the highlight of the album, with singers such as Matthew Koma, Tom Cane, and BullySongs being especially remarkable. The tracks, despite being full of energy, end up being nothing more than sounds we have previously heard. “International Anthem” is simply a rehash of any previous track written by Steele. A blatant, albeit excellent imitation of new electronic music stars ODESZA is seen in “Emotional.” The standout track of the album comes at the very end in the form of the heartfelt ballad “Ironheart.” Unfortunately, by the time the 12th track comes up, it is hard to care about an album that remained underwhelming until then.
More was definitely expected from the debut album of a bass music icon such as Flux Pavilion, but sadly, there wasn’t much more than a flavor-of-the-week offering. Tesla, inspired by the physicist of the same name, fails to live up to his name by being nothing more than formulaic and unimaginative.