In the years building up to their debut album 'New Eyes' back in 2014, Clean Bandit were greeted as a breath of fresh air on the pop landscape. Blending electro-pop with a fully orchestral composition gave them an edge that ultimately led to their unique direction and sound. Yet after that album managed to impress in parts, the now trio have returned with their long-awaited sophomore studio full-length 'What Is Love?', and from the initial listen it is clear that they have almost completely given up on their ground-breaking style and opted for yet more of the same old pop dross as everyone else.
This ditching of their orchestral roots is most evident on singles like 'Baby', which sees them incorporate acoustic guitars and a brass section in order to create their newfound intentions, but instead the results just seems to land them in the same vein as almost every other middle-of-the-road pop outfit of the moment. While they probably experienced tons of pressure to deliver a suitable follow-up to their cementing debut record, 'What Is Love?' just lacks the spirit and creativity that led us to fall for them in the first place, opting instead for a bland series of familiar pop tunes that just lack bite and diversity.
While the string of eclectic guest stars on this release do try to add a touch of eccentricity here and there, the overall result is an album that simply does its job as a radio-friendly batch of inoffensive and mediocre cuts that just blend into the background rather than peek your interest.