Today, I’m gonna be reviewing the group Discovery’s first album LP. The album was released July 7, 2009, on vinyl, and the CD was released a week later (yesterday).
What makes this group so special? Well, this is a collaborative effort between Rostam Batmanglij – the keyboardist and producer for Vampire Weekend – and Wes Miles – the Ra Ra Riot frontman. At first when I heard that these two were gonna be collaborating on an album, I couldn’t wait to hear it.
And then I went to http://dscvry.net/, so I could listen to the album for free… and I was shocked.
Track 1: Orange Shirt
You know, when I originally heard this track, I didn’t like it all that much, but I’ve decided it’s a pretty good opening track and a good choice for the first single. They mention Tokyo in this song, and the Osaka loop line in the next song, so I’m interested to find out if they were like in Japan or something when writing this album. Although I’m not a huge fan of the vocals, I really like all the cutting Batmanglij (I’m assuming) did. 4
Track 2: Osaka Loop Line
Honestly, the sound gets kind of old, kind of quick. And I’m pretty sure that translates to the album as a whole unfortunately. It’s super creative, don’t get me wrong. I totally appreciate what they’re doing here, but it’s just not super enjoyable to listen to. 2½
Track 3: Can You Discover?
It’s like T-Pain if he was an indie rock artist. I mean, it’s a fun song, but it’s just over-produced to me. Maybe not such a huge use of the effects on the vocals. The point is, it’s a really synthetic sound, like all of the album. 2
Angel Deradoorian is from the group Dirty Projectors, which Batmanglij and Miles have also worked with. Having said that, this song is another throw-away to me. I can see what they were going for, and the production is pretty phenomenal, but the synthetic bass line really gets to me. 3
Track 5: So Insane
The little “Electric Slide” shout-out is pretty cool. The tempo shift creates such a ridiculous difference. Like, it sounds like a totally different song when the tempo decreases. Sadly, 90% of the time, it sounds like shitty 80’s pop. 3
Track 6: Swing Tree
This is probably my favorite track off the album. I like the quick synth stabs a lot more than those fatter synths used in the earlier songs. The production value in this, I think, is pretty high. It’s neither overproduced, nor underproduced. It’s produced enough to sound good.4 ½
Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig joined Batmanglij and Miles on this track, providing vocals. The surprising part is it sounds like some ridiculous Flo Rida stuff or something. Ezra tried to help. But he didn’t help too much. 3
Track 8: I Want You Back (in Discovery)
This is a cover of “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5, and I think it’s one of the better tracks on this album. I really like the idea of covering this song, and it’s such a different interpretation of it than I’ve ever seen. It really says something about a song when, 30 years after it’s originally released, it can still be reworked in such a new way. 4
Track 9: It’s Not My Fault (It’s My Fault)
Cleverly produced, yet overly synthetic. I feel like I’m writing the same thing for every track. When you release a ten track album on which every track sounds super similar, I guess that’s what ends up happening. 2½
Track 10: Slang Tang
The best part about this track was that it was last, meaning the album was over. Although, you could probably loop this album, and I couldn’t tell you where the end was. Another very average track. 3
This album is certainly catchy, but at the same time, it’s kind of annoying. One way I’d describe it is… now. This album is very “2009”-sounding, and I find the sound obnoxiously synthetic. So, that means, if you like synths, then this is money, but if you get tired of synths easily, I’d pass.
1) Swing Tree – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-YhlfCq1AM&fmt=18