words by Mark Wilson

After years of lighting up Triple J’s ‘House Party’ every Friday night, and extensive touring since she’s left the role, Nina Las Vegas is back in the spotlight with her debut ep, EZY OR NEVER – her first release on her new label, NLV Records. Anyone who’s even remotely clued into the Australian dance scene should know that an NLV EP is bound to be fire, and true to expectation, it sure does deliver. As diverse as her set repertoire and showing influences of past collaborators like Flume, Skrillex and Wave Racer, the EP features the likes of C.Z., Swick and Snappy Jit, and covers a wide range of styles, from Europop on ‘Now or Never’, through EDM in lead single ‘Ezy’ and ‘Contagious’.

As is true of ‘House Party’ fashion, EZY OR NEVER gives a taste of everything, something for everyone. Tracks like opener ‘Substitute’ and ‘Now or Never’, feature more bubbly, bouncy, foamy leads – very much the sonic equivalent of chewing bubble-gum, and extremely reminiscent of mid-2000’s dance-pop. Fans of harder, heavier stuff get their fill on spearhead track ‘EZY’, itself getting the rounds on Triple J at the moment and filled with heavier, thumping beats, yet still with a bubbly, lighter main riff. NLV’s EDM prowess shines through on the percussion-heavy dirty drums and commanding vocal samples of ‘Contagious’. Massive drops are also a feature on closing track ‘Right Home’, with huge choruses and dreamy synths leading into heavy drum breaks.

However, this diversity could well be the downfall of this release. As much as it shows her extensive production knowledge and musical capability, it also gives a massive sense of confusion – leading the listener on a wild goose chase instead of down a well-defined path. Nowhere is this more evident than on ‘Now or Never’. Following on from ‘Contagious’, it opens with a slow, driving beat that gives the sense of another massive, dirty drop, yet this turns right on its head with the light, poppy verse that follows. As much as this sense of diversity deserves to be the highlight of the EP, you can’t help but to be distracted by it. Instead of a mash-up of styles and genres, it’s more of a confused bunch of tracks that don’t flow on from each other as well as they should. As much a learning curve as a reflection of her diverse reach in the dance scene, it shows a mastery of a wide range of influences, yet surprisingly for NLV, it lacks the consistency and ability to link them all together, and while it may seem like a forced jamming together of tracks, it doesn’t take away from the production values of each track.

Rating: ★★★

is available now through Nina’s own NLV Records.

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