Sia, Diplo, and Labrinth may not be the first three names that come to mind when thinking of exceptional artists, but all are undoubtedly talented and an inspired collaboration could have yielded a great result. Unfortunately, no such inspiration is seen on No New Friends, an EP so bland that it feels eons longer than its 16-minute runtime.
Immediately coming out mediocre with the title track, No New Friends quickly lets the listener know what it’s about with a cliched title and hook, tepid production, and what can barely be considered “rapping” by Labrinth. It is immediately apparent how little everyone involved is trying on this project and it’s baffling as to why the three even decided to collaborate on a full EP. Sia has used her voice to create jaw-dropping pop ballads in the past, yet barely uses any range here and just sings basic earwormy melodies. Diplo’s production has often been the saving grace of terrible tracks and has plenty of great ones to his name as well, yet even with Sia he puts forth such bland production that it sounds like almost every sound is set at the same level in mono. And Labrinth, well, Labrinth has never been exceptional but he’s barely even present here and it seems like he is only around so they can seem like a supergroup and get a pun in their name (though calling this sound akin to LSD is like saying using a kaleidoscope is essentially the same experience).
Additionally, most every song on the project is not only bland but barely sounds like it could be popular, more reminiscent of forgettable 2013 hits than 2019 ones. This is not surprising considering none of these artists are particularly young, but it’s disappointing nonetheless that the result is neither fresh nor well-made. There are some decent melodies here and there: ‘Genius’ is the clear standout and ‘Mountains’ has an interesting beat, but that’s relative to an otherwise uninspired project with songs so forgettable you barely realise you’re listening to them. Simply put, a collaboration of such talent should sound better than this.
Image: Walterlan Papetti, Kirk Stauffer, mtheory LLC, Beyoncetan 2 via Wikimedia Commons