Discovery: LP (2009)

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Discovery

Album: LP (2009)
Label: XL Recordings

Without meaning to sound overly dramatic, the last time an electro-pop side project from a couple of indie dudes sounded as good as Discovery’s LP, it helped supply UPS with its unofficial theme song. Discovery is the brainchild of Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles, and while it probably won’t become a Postal Service-level phenomenon, the band’s debut album has positioned itself as the kind of top-shelf pool-party jam that people tend to look for around this time of year.

Recorded over the course of three and a half years, LP won’t be mistaken for anything more than a side project tended to during stolen moments. But the mix of playfulness and solid songcraft means that it makes a great first impression and continues to reward with repeated listens, and in that way, it can be seen as the third piece of an electro side-project holy trinity alongside Give Up and The 6ths’ Wasps’ Nests. Vampire Weekend leader Ezra Koenig and Dirty Projectors’ Angel Deradoorian help out a little bit, but this is mostly Batmanglij and Miles’ show, with the former handling drum- and synth-programming duties, and the pair sharing lead vocals on a desert-island disc that sounds like it was made on a couple of laptops on a desert island. An Auto-Tuned Koenig appears on the 808s & Heartbreak-esque “Carby,” “Swing Tree” sounds like an updated version of Tom Tom Club’s “Genius Of Love,” and Ra Ra Riot’s “Can You Tell” goes from good to even better during “Can You Discover?”, but the most poignant song on LP’s release is a cover of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” which remains epic and celebratory in spite of the slow tempo.

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