Funk Wav Bounces Vol 2 review | Calvin Harris’s surprisingly tedious pool party

The second volume of Calvin Harris’ Funk Wav Bounces is a litany of bigshot features. Considering that, it becomes a surprisingly samey record.

Calvin Harris


No man is an island. Indeed, Funk Wav Bounces Vol 2 – the album cover figures a palm tree-filled breakaway of an archipelago – is an assortment of massive names. All called upon for Calvin Harris’ getaway weekend. A party retreat for A-listers, from Dua Lipa to Pharrell – and of course there’s Snoop Dogg chilling in the corner (featuring on the track ‘Live My Best Life’).

In truth, Harris has done well to utilise these additions, to make him feel relevant again. Currently in the middle of a residency at Ibiza’s Ushuaïa, he continues to successfully orientate himself away from the anodyne EDM that he became known for towards something far less cringe. (As you can tell, David Guetta isn’t quite my cup of tea).

He hasn’t always represented such an anodyne output of sound – with tracks such as ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ and ‘Feel So Close’ inducing the kind of yawn-athon you’d find at a tasteless Pryzm nightclub. His 2007 debut I Created Disco actually represented something rather novel, bursting onto the scene with its innovative Kraftwerk-like aggregation of synths and cheeky-chappie lyrics.

That said, the intermediate work between that debut and 2017’s Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 had an enormous impact, both on the charts and in securing some of its collaborative counterparts hits too, from Florence Welch’s ‘Sweet Nothing’ to Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’.

Pairing up with other big names has seemed to be the order of the day for the Dumfries-born DJ ever since. And that’s exactly where we find Harris on his most recent album, only more relaxed, acclimatised to the stars since his relocation to the U.S. Only, with a penchant for groovy nu-disco, he’s buttoned-down, relaxed – almost too relaxed.

From the second track, the 21 Savage-featuring ‘New Money’ almost right the way through to the Pharrell and Pusha T closer, ‘Day One’, there’s a nonchalance that borders being boring – like a poolside DJ forced to only play Ibiza chillout so as not to disturb the guests while they eat inside.

There are moments where this works well. ‘Woman of the Year’, featuring not just one, but a tripartite of powerful women (Stefflon Don, Chloë and Coi Leray) has a groove that pulls at the heartstrings. The subsequent ‘Obsessed’, with some of the best feature work on the album in Charlie Puth and Shenseea, is lifted with its soulful piano backing.

Calvin Harris

The issue at its heart, though, is the repetitiveness of the album from start-to-finish. Perhaps it’s the product of being in the dying age of the album, but ultimately, like a fair few parties after a certain time, you end up feeling as though everyone’s interchangeable.

As the 6lack and Donae’o repeats, there’s ‘Nothing More To Say’. It’s all been said before, and this doesn’t add much to conversation.

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