These Kids Might Stand a Chance
The trap that too many side projects (particularly high-profile ones) fall into these days is their tendency to not sound all that different from their parent groups. After all, why should a member of a band feel compelled to break away only to produce music that said band is already doing, often ten times better? No such traps snare Ra Ra Riot frontman Wes Miles or Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmaglij, working together under the name Discovery. Their debut LP bares little to no resemblance to either of their bands’ previous work, save for their respective attention to craft and breezy pop savvy.Eschewing their respective indie and Afropop leanings in favor of thick beats, thicker synths and heavily auto-tuned vocals, Discovery have composed a winningly diverting summer party album that harkens closer to ’80s dance music and even modern R&B: Picture Kanye West fronting The Postal Service. They wonâ€šÃ„Ã´t win any points for originality at the end of the day, but that hardly matters when the enjoyment level is so high from song to song.
Previously leaked tracks “Orange Shirt” and “Osaka Loop Line” kick off the festivities, each a perfect four-minute summary of the duo’s strengths: dated but distinctive electro-flourishes, soft, near-robotic vocals and above all catchy, unassuming melodies that cannonball straight into the ears and swim around for hours. Even better is the tropic thunder of “So Insane,” whose island rhythm and shifting tempos play like a portable spring break.
Things get really interesting when they invite some of their friends over to the party. Dirty Projectors’ Angel Deradoorian takes an intoxicating turn on bubbly jam “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” that nearly beats her bandmate Amber Coffman’s star vehicle “Stillness is the Move” at its own game. Vampire Weekend’s own Ezra Koenig makes a welcome cameo on the towering shuffle of “Carby.”
LP probably won’t score the accolades or long-term cred of the bands that spawned it. Like any good party, though, there is much fun to be had so long as the jams keep blasting from the speakers.