Rusko--that's Leeds' Christopher Mercer to Her Majesty the Queen--is a dubsteb producer/DJ of many faces. There's the Rusko of "Cockney Thug," a dirty brass burst laced with a wobbly bass pulsation that sounds like that intracranial hemorrhage that comes from chasing a near blackout-deep bong hit with a rush of nitrous. There's also the Rusko of Kid Sister's "Pro Nails" remix, who knows how to squash a hip-hop beat into a booty-quake skidmark without losing the hook (think: screwed, chopped, and fuuuuuuucked). And there's the Rusko of MIA's new Maya, who hungrily gobbles up beats and sounds like Andy Dick at a free intoxicants and cock party.
All three and more show up on O.M.G.!, his Mad Decent solo debut. The daft fact is how radio-friendly the entire lot is. Dubstep's familiar and disorienting extremities occasionally do pop up--the echo-chamber deep bass lines of "I Love You," the squiggly electronic wobbles like Pac-Man mating calls in "Woo Boost"--but for the most part O.M.G.!'s background production sounds polished and eager to please. And with the many talk-box/Auto-Tune vocal hooks running through the album, it hits the ears like radio hits, feeling as edgeless as Ke$ha.
It's also woozily disorienting: Rusko runs through genres--a little dub ("Rubadub Shakedown"), some Dirty South bounce ("Got Da Groove," featuring Gucci Mane), some mini-backpack drum 'n' bass ("Raver's Special"), sassy house ("Feels So Real")--like pathological gamblers through paychecks. It gives the album a schizophrenic patina, which isn't that surprising for an artist who works magic with singles.
When Rusko's omnivorous grazing really connects, though, he makes great pop. Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman guests on after-hours bedroom jam "Hold On," and she makes a gorgeous case for a David Guetta house-diva solo project in her future. And in "Oy," featuring the playful Italian duo Crookers, Rusko delivers a sly dance track that lets a slippery groove blossom into a outta-space head trip.