A current trend has infiltrated the indie/hipster world – and judging from the looks and sounds of it, it’s here to stay for the long run. In recent months, artists from around the world have been inclined to use synthesizers, talk boxes, auto-tune, pitch shifts and other various electronic devices, causing a gravitational shift toward glitzy electro pop in multiple other genres. The indie genre itself has become very popular in the past year or so, to the extent that these characteristics and recording techniques have made their debut in mainstream music.
Discovery, a side project created by Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot front man Wes Miles, released its first full-length record, LP, on July 7. Similar to many artists in the genre (i.e. Passion Pit, Chromeo, Does it Offend You, Yeah?, etc.), the pair dabbled around with just about every button, switch and knob to find the most appealing and catchy collection of electronic sounds, riffs and beats. What we end up with is exactly that – humorous lyrics and a few indiscernible vocals tossed into the mix.
Upon first listen of LP, a couple tracks immediately became favorites. “Orange Shirt,” “So Insane” and “Swing Tree” combine equal amounts of dazzling electronic effects with melodic and lyrical creativity. A number of other tracks demonstrate their innovation in a purely structural way, which is to say that there is more technical stuff going on than anything else. In “Carby,” featuring Vampire Weekend’s front man Ezra Koenig, there are constant shifts in the way we hear Koenig’s voice – first by itself, then auto-tuned, then through a talk box and auto-tuned once again – layered on top of lively offbeat high hat sixteenth notes and ebbing subwoofer melody. There may be a lot more technical aspects to this track than there are in others, but that’s definitely not to say that “Carby” isn’t appealing.
Whether or not their electronic effects are well matched with melodies and lyrics is for the most part unrelated to its appeal, mainly because the majority of Discovery’s tracks are instantly likeable.
“Orange Shirt,” one of Discovery’s first singles to float about on the internet, contains a number of lighthearted lyrics. “Never nice at all but we can work it out/ Always sexy how you chew that straw/ Especially when you wearing Lacoste.“
So insane, indeed.
Give these tracks a listen: “So Insane” “Swing Tree“
For fans of: Passion Pit, Chromeo