Blood, Sweat & 3 Years, the big-label debut from electronic production trio Cash Cash, is a celebration of the many facets of dance in the 2010s EDM era, from trap to tropical and everything in between. Rivaling the Knocks for most-star-studded dance album of 2016, the New Jersey boys recruited an impressive list of guests for the effort -- their third studio LP overall -- and the stars shine through the lens of Cash Cash's lively pop-house. By highlighting the unique styles of each artist, Cash Cash created a collection where every song could be a viable single. The features roster can be loosely divided between female singers and hip-hop artists, with some inspired left-field inclusions from the alt-pop world. Fitz (of the eponymous Tantrums) makes an appearance on the propulsive "Broken Drum," a tropical-tinged dazzler, while head Goo Goo Doll John Rzeznik lends his rock rasp to the hands-up bouncer "Lightning." Elsewhere, '90s party-starting rappers Nelly and Busta Rhymes pop up, the former with U.K. DJs Digital Farm Animals on "Millionaire," and the latter with B.o.B and Neon Hitch on the booming trap gem "Devil." The brightest moments come courtesy of the women, bringing a carefree and breezy energy to balance the machismo. Mexican pop singer Sofia Reyes kicks off the album with "How to Love," an uplifting number topped only by Christina Perri's heavenly "Hero." Fellow Jerseyite and Voice alum Jacquie Lee channels Foxes-via-Zedd on the "Clarity"-lite "Aftershock," while Nikki Taylor of New York alt-pop trio Little Daylight continues the Zedd love on "Turn." They've also got Dev, Anjulie, Bebe Rexha, and Jenna Andrews. In an uncredited role, Julia Michaels contributes one of the best songs here: "Surrender" is an epic festival-sized banger that recalls the finest moments of Swedish House Mafia. It's not all guests, however, proving that Cash Cash can stand on their own. Leading that pack is "Escarole," a gigantic dose of sinister aggression that would make the Chemical Brothers proud. With a roiling beat and head-spinning dubstep twists, it momentarily pulls Blood, Sweat & 3 Years away from the Land of the Radio-Ready Hits and nails the listener with some good old-fashioned dirty house. For EDM fans pining for a more diverse and energetic dance party, Cash Cash provide one of the best choices of 2016.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
feat: Digital Farm Animals