One listen to “Say It,” the bright, supremely poppy Tove Lo collaboration from Flume’s second album, makes it clear the Australian producer is not content to repeat the intimately chill, layered electronic pastiche of his successful debut. “Skin” is more ambitious and cinematic, with creative use of space and repetition. Flume’s most comfortable conjuring lush, ascending beats for women vocalists; Lo, MNDR, Kai, Aluna Francis, and Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano all shine on the album’s most arresting tracks. As on his first effort, working with MCs is trickier territory. Raekwon could spin gold rapping over raindrops, and unsurprisingly carries “You Know” to heights the stuttering, melodramatic track can’t match. A chopped, bass-heavy “Lose It” with Vic Mensa is more insistent, despite the rapper’s underwhelming turn. Flume finds beauty in dissonance on “Wall [expletive]” and the sublime, gear-grinding “Numb & Getting Colder” with Kucka. While satisfying, the record could have used a bit more of that invention and risk.
ESSENTIAL “Numb & Getting Colder”
Flume performs at the House of Blues Aug. 29 and 30.Ken Capobianco can be reached at email@example.com.