July 8, 2009
Album review: Discovery - 'LP'
A Vampire Weekend hip-hop side project? Sounds crazy, but it's one beautiful fusion
7 / 10
Ha ha ha. The guy from Vampire Weekend has written a hip-hop album that sounds like Prince and Jermaine Dupri! But they’re so preppy?! I know, I know – and white! But white guys can’t get sexy! White guys are aware of their pop music history because they’re nerdy, but they can’t get sexy! That’s why it’s going to be so funny when people hear it!
Yes, Vampire Weekend are preppy and one of them, Rostam Batmanglij, has teamed up with Wes Miles of Ra Ra Riot to release a record inspired by hip-hop, but no, it’s not that surprising. After all, they’re educated, artistic, Brooklyn hipsters – exactly the kind of people who go bum-crazy over hip-hop beats and R&B melodies.
Where every indie band keen to separate themselves from their mono-race fanbase have been banging on about their second Missy Elliott-inspired record only to churn out one that sounds like the first, at least Rostam has actually gone through with it. And he’s done well to hold the eccentric mélange together. ‘Swing Tree’ pulls together Mariah Carey’s ‘Fantasy’, electro and yearning Orange Juice vocal parts. ‘Carby’, meanwhile, is almost a Vampire Weekend track (well, it features Ezra Koenig), only it’s writhing with Cassie over the sweat-slick dancefloor prick-tease of ‘Me & U’. As much as its obvious reference points may be The Neptunes, Timbaland and southern R&B, frankly, the Brooklyn avant garde of Dirty Projectors is easily as significant in the pointillistic construction of tracks such as ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’, while ‘Swing Tree’ sounds like Peter Gabriel (yes, him again) but admittedly Peter Gabriel lost on a bouncy castle made of electricity.
While the slightly self-conscious collision of styles and obscure rhythms may reek of a music student project, this album is still a lot better than the one-line gag most will probably treat it as.
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