ar·cane (är-kān') adj. requiring secret or mysterious knowledge;

Discovery – LP

Posted in music by arcanedufresne on August 4, 2009

This week’s Music Monday was actually written and ready yesterday but somehow it slipped my mind to post it as I wrote Sunday night. Regardless, the review was actually started nearly a month ago but I am glad I waited and rewrote it because my opinions have changed on it since my first handful of listens.

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Discovery is a collaboration between Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles of Ra Ra Riot. Like I said, initially I thought this album was pretty great, but I think my perception was really based on the first three or four songs, which are the best offerings on the release. The two manage to create an electronic, Euro-dance/indie darling compilation that too often it feels like it lacks a little heart and direction. Orange Shirt opens LP up with an upbeat track with scholarly introspection about crushes and T9, which borders on overdone but is also earnest enough to be appreciated. Can You Discover? is a cover of a Ra Ra Riot track that has lost some of its charm when it they released it as a mechanical copy, but is still one of the better songs.

Listen to Orange Shirt.

Production wise, there are points that the combination of the over-powering and sometimes cluttered instrumentation drown out the chirping vocals. The album starts to feel repetitious by the middle and the space invaderesque swirling synths and autotune over the steady snare/clap and fast-to-slow tempo shifts make you wonder if you may have accidentally hit repeat unknowingly around track seven. LP also ends flat with the uninspiring It’s Not My Fault (It’s My Fault) and the unfortunate reggae attempt on Slang Tang.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of highlights that make this album worth listening to (the spacey, grinding synths and tinging triangle on Osaka Loop Line, a broken down slow-mo chorus on So Insane, etc.) but it has to be taken in smaller doses. There are a good amount of little things that Discovery do well and I find enjoyable. It’s really a tale of two halves of an album, in which the first half builds up potential and wonder on an enjoyable ride; only to have the second half tear spent careening with no direction until the ride ends in a boring traffic jam, stalled out in the middle of nowhere. I hope they are able to refine their sound and bring a little more to the table in the future.

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