Discovery | LP (XL)

cd_discovery.jpgMore fizzy joys abound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Discovery, the slowly gestating, newly born collaboration between Vampire Weekend keyboard whiz Rostam Batmanglij and Wes Miles, the singer from Ra Ra Riot. It’s a tongue-in-cheek side project of the best kind, brimming with the bustle of a crowded market, each song a stall hawking studio fresh electro-pop mashed together with bits of singsong reggae, glossy R&B, and tinkling, buzzing synth blasts.

LP is crammed with giddy highs, and its most infectious moments are the pure late-2000s eletcro-pop of "Orange Shirt" and "Osaka Loop Line." These tracks are a fitting soundtrack to urban summertime activities: seat-of-your-pants travel; heady, "not sure if it’ll last" romance; subway daydreams. How can you resist smiling at "Orange Shirt," with its goofy-smile declarations of fleeting fancy and commands to "sleep on the train to Tokyo/ Google yourself when you get home"? Discovery could stop right there with that double-A side’s worth of fun, but the buzz continues with "Can You Discover?" which is nothing less than Batmanglij’s day job forced to reproduce in captivity with Kanye West in full-on "Heartbreak" mode. It’s so wrong but feels so right. "Slang Tang" is possibly the most fully realized fusion on the album, a dreamy, bloopy, lilting coda to the rest of the record’s hyperactive mood.

More fizzy joys abound: "So Insane," true to its name, bursts forth like a completely nuts Eurovision cover of a Bel Biv DeVoe jam, then settles into a strange, mechanical groove before finally reconciling the two into a moment of mad genius. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig makes an obligatory, Auto-Tuned guest vocal appearance on "Carby." It transforms him into a young Justin Timberlake via Continental techno, camping up an already not-taking-itself-too-seriously jam. The sly, Timbaland-nodding "It’s Not My Fault (It’s My Fault)," is relatively more staid, but even it happily cooks up funk, ’80s house beats and synth pop with a slight hint of world beat and trip-hop.

A few tunes do abjectly fail to stoke the brain’s pleasure centers. "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" is phased out beyond belief, grating like the soundtrack to an endless shopping expedition to hell’s mall, circa 1986. Later, a Daft Punk-ed up, jaw droppingly awful take on the Jackson 5’s "I Want You Back" misses "so bad it’s good" by no less than three exits.

Discovery have tossed us one total sugar rush of a record; it’s easy to become obsessed, spin it for two or three days straight through, and then end up with an aural bellyache. But give it a few days; the craving will return with a vengeance and you’ll be right back at it, ready for that 3 p.m. fix. Thankfully, the album’s brief runtime lends itself well to this boom/bust cycle; any more than a half hour would be complete overkill. LP may not be poised for immortality, but it is an almost perfectly portioned, fun-filled slice of summer. B | Mike Rengel

RIYL: David Byrne DJ-ing a student union disco; those "slat"-style fashion sunglasses; the fact that it’s actually T-Pain on the Lonely Island’s "I’m On a Boat"

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