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Side projects that sound overly similar to the artists' main band are always a letdown. Why not take some chances, do something crazy, or head off in a totally unexpected direction? Rostam Batmaglij of Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles of Ra Ra Riot have taken this to heart on their collaboration, Discovery. There is absolutely no trace of the precise, orchestrated, indie popcraft of Ra Ra Riot or the jittery, Afro-pop of Vampire Weekend to be found on the duo's debut record LP. Instead they go for a crazily warped version of modern R&B jams filtered through '80s dance music, '00s hip-hop, and Jamaican dancehall that is both hilarious and wonderful. Hilarious because the synth tones are so fat, the beats so clich├ęd, the EFX so corny that you can't help but laugh; wonderful because the duo know exactly how to put all the elements together to make a thrillingly silly and fun album. Whether they are bringing in Angel Deradoorian from Dirty Projectors to sing the hook on "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," hijacking the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" for some dreamy deconstruction, conjuring up the ghost of the Art of Noise (and their huge drum machines) on the mind-bending "So Insane," or constantly laying down beats that would make Cameo blush, the pair never let the fun stop or make a false move into sincerity or authenticity. Sure they manage to write some sweet melodies (like on "Carby" and "Osaka Loop Line"), sing in tender falsettos (Batmaglij and Miles split vocal duties evenly), and write sensitive lyrics instead of loverman boasts or pleas, but overall, the feeling you get from the record is that of a couple of guys having an incredibly fun time creating music that has absolutely no socially redeeming values at all. Who needs those anyway when LP is so joyous, perfectly conceived, and flat out fun? Stick to the duo's day jobs for that, come to Discovery for the jamz!

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