Like most things Diplo does, it goes without saying that Jack Ü probably shouldn’t be taken seriously. Hell, the set-up sounds like a massive in-joke: teaming up with fellow knob-twiddling hipster Skrillex, playing songs for the first time on a boat, releasing music that sounds pretty much exactly how you’d expect a song by Diplo and Skrillex to sound (wa-wa-womp dub breakdowns included).
As the album careens through its relentless course with tracks named Don’t Do Drugs Just Take Some Jack Ü (“in your butt”, apparently) and Febreze, it’s clear that the lopsided smiley face on the cover is no accident. This is – in the best way – the sound of two overgrown teenagers throwing everything they can at a genre and having some fun with it. It explains the jumpy squawks of Beats Knockin and the roars of Jungle Bae (a title that, rather aptly, is very current-kitsch), and also justifies the myriad detours a song takes before it gets remotely close to where you expect it to go.
There’s clearly a hangover from Diplo‘s other side-project, and there are times when Jack Ü are indeed hard to differentiate from Major Lazer. Still, while it’s an immensely fun collaboration, they shouldn’t be discounted from having some genuine relevance: immaculate features from Kiesza and Missy Elliott, Kai, and AlunaGeorge (and one slightly redundant one from Justin Bieber that – shockingly – doesn’t do him justice) elevate Jack Ü into something more than just of-the-moment vanity. Plug in, get jacked, and wait for the comedown in a couple of years.