Discovery: LP (XL) 

Listening to Discovery's LP reminds us that synthpop is the "sound of the aughts." Twenty-somethings in the year 2025 will be playing LCD Soundsystem and the Postal Service at their nostalgic '00s parties, decked out in American Apparel thrift finds and high tops with straps.

Though LP feels like a recapitulation of everything faddish about the past five years, it's still a fun listen. The album's opener, "Orange Shirt," is a lovely slice of fuzzed-out electronica, thanks both to the appropriately breezy, neutered vocals from Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles, and the instrumentation of Rostam Batmanglij, moonlighting here from Vampire Weekend. They know the genre's trappings, and often give us just what we want: The bursts of static, whale-song synth trills and shifting tempos of "Osaka Loop Line," the R&B vocal loops on "Swing Tree," the roboto-disco-funk on "Carby."

The worst moments here aren't bad, just tepid—like the limp cover of the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back" and the island rhythm lite of "Slang Tang."

The appeal of LP is pretty clear: It steals the kitschy elements of the 1970-1985 era but re-costumes them, similar to how Urban Outfitters makes a vintage cereal ad relevant again by branding it on a T-shirt and selling it for $30. LP imagines a glittery futurism where we all meet in the discothéque, and classic Motown is translated into the alien electrobabble once dreamed up by acts like Newcleus. But now that babble is being broadcast using the remote feature on the latest iPhone.

More by Sean Bottai


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