Music Reviews

Discovery LP

(XL) Buy it from Insound Rating - 2/10

Thank you, Discovery, for making Jay-Z seem prophetically like Nirvana killing hair metal. The collaborative effort known as Discovery has released a debut album that officially pronounces the merciful death of auto-tune.

LP, as the band is calling it, marks the first (and hopefully last) time friends and fellow indie darlings Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend) and Wes Miles (Ra Ra Riot) have joined musical forces in the studio as a unit. Those two bands go way back, so it’s not much of a surprise to see them hold hands like this, but I’m more than a bit stunned to witness them giddily usher each other into a lava pit of hollow pop hopelessness.

There are very few redeeming qualities about LP, which is the musical equivalent of continuous torture by getting your foot tickled with a feather. It’s light, fluffy, soft, and really freaking annoying. In an attempt to strip off any last remaining flab of meat and flesh from the frail body of indie rock by making an album that bombards you with candy pop flair, Discovery have created the ultimate soundtrack to hipster circle jerk stylization.

The problem with LP isn’t necessarily in the blitzkrieg of pop sensibilities. Passion Pit and MGMT do the same thing, and they have both made great records. The trouble with Discovery is that their music is just not melodic. The album is too far up its own, binary-coded ass to actually come up with any good tunes. You can’t even dance to this stuff. Can You Discover is like a castrated 808s and Heartbreak throwaway, while opener Orange Shirt is the kind of stuff the girls with the fake orange tans and Toyota Celicas would play in their car on the drive home from high school (not in an ironic way, either). Girl Talk farts out better dance grooves in his sleep, and I don’t even really like Girl Talk!

Worst of all, the dismantling of The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back may be the most destructive and downright music-less attempt at covering a good song that I’ve ever heard. Why did they do it? What was the point? I cannot wrap my head around how these smart guys could have possibly thought a whiny, auto-tuned, robot-speak cover of the song, smeared with the digital shit of drum machines and ear-rotting synths, could have been a good idea. They’ve also found a way to completely waste the angelic vocal talent of Angel Deradoorian (The Dirty Projectors) on I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, as the band’s post-recording shenanigans have chopped her beautiful voice into cold slabs of sonic butcher meat.

When Discovery churns out something more than pastel-colored garbage, it’s usually because they’re demonstrating even the slightest shred of restraint. Osaka Loop Line at least has a hook, and It’s Not My Fault (It’s My Fault) brandishes the album’s one, strong chorus, which provides the listener with a brief, cruel breath of air amidst all the asphyxiating. But these songs are simply specs of glitter on a turd, and LP was destined for failure as soon as Batmanglij and Miles thought an exercise in all that’s bad about pop music was some kind of great idea. Because it had to be planned – there’s no way this kind of…thing…happens by accident.