Various Artists

Standard 4:19, Vol. 4

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The problem with hipster institutions is that the more institutionalized they become, the harder they have to work to maintain their hipster credibility (and the sillier they look doing it). And the problem with hipster music is that it usually invests too much energy in hipness and not enough in musical content -- mopey or solipsistic lyrics, ironic folk instruments, ironic house beats, ironic new romantic gestures, etc. So when you come across a compilation that identifies itself with the ultra-hip Standard Hotel, you have good reason to approach with caution. But this collection really isn't bad at all. In fact, a good share of it is excellent -- sometimes despite its hipness, and sometimes actually because of it. Highlights include Curumin's "Vem Menina" (a Portuguese number with a rap interlude and a dub section); the slow and funky electro of "Lonnie's Secret" by Owusu & Hannibal; and Jackson's glitchy and fun remix of "Run into Flowers" by M83. There's also a surprise appearance by the late Dennis Brown, whose classic "Man Next Door" is stuck onto the program halfway through like a...well, like a vintage reggae track dropped without warning into a program of dry hipster funk. The Brazilian Girls' "All About Us" would have been a bit more listenable if they'd sung in whatever their native language is instead of their cringe-inducing English ("It's not about the means that I can pay for it with," etc.), and the Magic Numbers' "Crazy in Love" is presented in a live version that is way too long and repetitive. Taken all together, though, the album hangs together quite well.

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