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Discovery, LP (XL)

July 24, 2009
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Cover image of Discovery's LP

Jay-Z said Auto-Tune is dead. But based on the sheer amount of music utilizing the famous vocal-editing software, it's already an undead interloper set to haunt music for years to come. A good example is Discovery, the collaboration between Vampire Weekend keyboardist/producer Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles that's filled with processed vocals and synthetic blue-eyed soul. If Chromeo is sweaty and sweet and Junior Boys is icy yet romantic, Discovery is sappy and as bright as its Pantonelike album cover.

Filled with innocent, lovelorn lyrics and the last 30 years' worth of guilty-pleasure keyboard cliches, the music can be sunny and indulgent, like with the swooning vocals during the half-time break in "So Insane" (some of the best and most unprocessed of the bunch) or Angel Deradoorian's chopped up one-woman chorus on "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." But many parts—like the ineffective, bedroom-begging lyrics of "Can You Discover?" and the wobbly, gimmick-filled Jackson 5 cover "I Want You Back"—have too much of a childlike rhythm and feel. It's a fitting undercurrent for a group named Discovery, but it doesn't always translate into great pop. [3 out of 5 stars]

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