Blood, Sweat & 3 Years is the fourth studio album by EDM trio Cash Cash, and their first full length record on Atlantic Records and Big Beat Records after a string of EPs and singles. The new album’s title offers a little insight into its collection of songs, which reach back as early as three years ago. Though its not the most cohesive album around, Cash Cash’s latest offering has plenty of excellent tracks that all retain their signature brand of accessible dance pop.
Jam packed with sixteen songs, the music on Blood, Sweat & 3 Years is often better than the sum of its parts with a number of top notch productions holding the songs together. For their new album, Cash Cash enlisted the help of a vocal collaborator for nearly every track, hitting the studio with major talent like Nelly, Busta Rhymes and John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls.
Blood, Sweat & 3 Years starts off strong, and the first three songs on the album make its party friendly intentions clear. “How To Love” with Sophia Reyes and the Nelly featured “Millionaire” were previously released as singles, and they establish the easy going summer vibe that runs throughout a number of the new songs. “Broken Drum” with Fitz & The Tantrums, which was also released before the album dropped, boasts a sun kissed deep house production, with winding synth solos and smooth vocals layered over an energetic backdrop.
“Devil,” “The Gun” and “Sweat” bring a trap element to the mix, sporting the booming 808s and blippy synths that serve as hallmarks of the genre. There are a number of rapid fire rap verses sprinkled throughout the new songs, and these shifts in style give Blood a more diverse sonic palette.
On “Escarole,” the trio shifts away from the more pop oriented style that dominates the album to focus on a bass heavy future house excursion. Narrowing their focus to achieve the maximum impact, Cash Cash crafts a dancefloor ready banger that hits harder than the majority of offerings on Blood, Sweat & 3 Years. “Bada Boom” makes a similar effort but to lesser effect later in the track list, sporting a big room sound circa 2013.
“We Will Live” is a highlight on Blood, due in no small part to the powerful vocal contributions from pop duo Night Terrors of 1927. Set to a consistent electro-house rhythm, Cash Cash take the song to the next level with Avicii style synth melodies and lush instrumentation.
The Anjulie collaboration on “Arrow In The Dark” is another strong cut, as the singer croons a sultry narration about love that’s too perfect to work. The verses are underscored by deep house chord progressions that build up to bouncy future house drops, and the clever songwriting makes for a memorable listen.
For as many excellent tracks as there are on Cash Cash’s latest, the new record does at times suffer from too much of the same thing, particularly regarding a number of the female led vocal collaborations. “Turn,” “Lightning” and “Surrender” all feature serviceable productions, but the formula of pristine pop vocals, simple dance beats and uplifting synth vignettes begins to grow tired by the end of the record.
At a time when the album format is enjoying something of a renaissance in electronic music, Blood, Sweat & 3 Years plays more like a loose collection of songs than a cohesive whole. Part of this is because the music present on the new LP dates back to as early as 2013, and some of the productions feel mismatched when heard side by side as a result.
Blood, Sweat & 3 Years works best when Cash Cash takes an unfettered approach to their sound on tracks like “Millionaire” and “How To Love,” where they strike the right balance between radio friendly pop and crowd pleasing dance rhythms. The songs on the trio’s fourth studio album all feature high production values, with crystal clear mixing and some excellent synth work, making Blood, Sweat & 3 Years a lightweight dance album that serves its purpose well.
For their fourth studio album, Cash Cash up the ante on their radio ready brand of dance pop, delivering a whopping sixteen songs. As a result, Blood, Sweat & 3 Years shines with its upbeat party vibes, strong production values and memorable songwriting.