Discovery ‘LP’ – Review

9 Jul
Discovery are the much hyped side project of Vampire weekend and Ra Ra Riot. Their debut album L.P finally arrived this week and it is an album of two halves. Half the time it feels like the summery pop hit of the summer (much like Vampire Weekend’s debut was last year). The other half of the time however it feels like a joke nobody is laughing at.

Like vampire weekend before them, Discovery had a couple of demos floating around the internet for months before the album release. Like VW these tracks kick off the album, and like VW these are the two best songs. ‘Orange Shirt’ and ‘Osaka Loop Line’ are breezy, fun slices of electronic pop and the mood setters for the rest of the ‘LP’. I don’t want to bang on about Vampire Weekend but the comparison is especially obvious here – ‘Oranger Shirt’ could be a VW track if it weren’t for the weird vocal effects and synths.

R&B and hip hop were always an influence on Vampire weekend (albeit a subtle one) and here the influence is plain for all to see. KanyeWest looms over ‘Can You Discover’ whilst later on they attempt a poorly thought out cover of ‘I want You Back.’ Here the autotune vocals and retro keys do not work well and the result is cringey. It reminded me of that moment in Attack of the Clones when Yoda gets out his lightsaber to fight Christoper Lee’s character- you can tell a lot of effort went into it and we waited a long time to see it, but the result is disastrous.

This is the story of a few tracks on the album. ‘So Insane’ really is insane – it goes from brilliant to terrible and switches back again. It’s an infuriating song, where once again you feel the idea was more important than the actual song. The record feels strangely souless, the synths are cold and mechanical, the bass is lacking any depth. Where ‘Swing Tree’ should be warm and emotional it is distant and underdeveloped. The beats on the album never reach the level of genius many hip hop producers reach, they often feel like a poor imitation. But Discovery offer something they often can’t – great harmonies, catchy melodies and intelligent but classic pop lines.

Whilst ‘LP’ feels underdeveloped (better in their heads than it actually is) the result is not bad for a first attempt. At times it feels more like a demo than a proper album and they never quite achieve what they set out to. Nonetheless it is a good pop/r&b album and lord knows that were are missing many better alternatives this year. This will do very nicely until the second Vampire Weekend album later this year.



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