Sunday, June 21, 2009
Discovery, whose name pays due respect to Daft Punk's inspirational 2001 disc, is a collaboration between Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles that sounds nothing like either group's music. Their first LP, entitled LP, is an experiment in electronic pop and auto-tune effects that shows the urgent necessity for the keyboardist and vocalist to develop their side project. When I first heard the album, I absolutely hated it. I thought the idea was sound, but the execution left a lot to be desired. After listening to it a few more times, though, I started to get hooked by each individual track, and now I love the album for exactly what it is: a cute, friendly, and fun romp through beeps, synths, and smoothed-over, half-human, half-machine crooning.
The first song I heard, "Osaka Loop Line," is now one of my favorite tracks, combining an abrupt, pounding bassline with a shimmering cascade of chime-like electronics. It's a perfect example of the off-kilter yet still excruciatingly catchy compositional approach found on each of the short album's 10 melodies. Another track that shows off the duo's finest is "So Insane," which takes one main chorus and turns it all over, starting out with a more danceable club tune (which incidentally borrows a line from "The Electric Slide") and slowing it down to form more of a romantic number, then repeating it all over again on the next chorus. Additionally, the increasingly featured artists Angel Deradoorian of Dirty Projectors fame and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend both contribute to the album, though on separate tracks. Deradoorian plays an androgynous role when she sings both "I wanna be your boyfriend" and "I want a boyfriend" on the aptly-titled "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" while Koenig's voice is later overly distorted on "Carby." As for the rest of the vocals, both Rostam and Wes take turns and both have pretty decent voices, especially when enhanced by auto-tune and vocoding technology on tracks like opener "Orange Shirt" and "Swing Tree." The two also offer an interesting take on Michael Jackson's "I Want You Back," though I vastly prefer the original. Discovery's music has a very futuristic and hip feel, and I can sense that this album is going to get incredibly popular within the next few weeks, so watch for it. It deserves most of the praise.