Madcon Conquest

Madcon Conquest
Conquest, the North American debut from Norwegian duo Madcon, isn't really a hip-hop album. Instead, Madcon use hip-hop as a base and build upon it using elements of soul, funk, rock and reggae to create a hugely listenable urban pop record. "The Sweetest Drug" is a retro-soul classic, with joyful vocals and rapid-fire rhymes laid overtop of thick horn riffs, soaring keys and stomping drums. "Wholehearted," with its playful piano riff, is the sort of breezy summer jam that's meant to sound good pouring out of car stereos and keep outdoor parties rocking. "Let it Be Known" is nine-tenths of the way to being a straight-up reggae song. Conquest is the sort of diverse crossover album that will make hip-hop purists tear their hair out in frustration but thankfully, Madcon don't need the purist vote to make Conquest a success. Almost every song is catchy enough to work as a single, meaning the album has commercial potential to burn. Add to that the fact that Madcon are able to skilfully and seamlessly blend genres and Conquest starts to look like the rare album that can satisfy both critics and the general record-buying public. (Universal)