So if you’re like me, you’ve been constantly telling yourself “I’m in the mood for some dreamy pop/indie/soul music, but I won’t listen to it unless it’s produced by Danger Mouse.” Fortunately for both of us, that exact collaboration is right at your doorstep, and all you have to do is let the Los Angeles quartet into your speakers, and you can let the retro-vibing begin.
Electric Guest, the brainchild of Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton, began many years ago, but it took the famous producer’s involvement to show the project the light of day. Asa’s brother, Jorma, happens to be part of The Lonely Island, and their SNL connections included Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, whose most recent collabs have included Norah Jones’ new album, Broken Bells (with James Mercer of the Shins), and the Rome Soundtrack. When Compton’s beats, Taccone’s vocals, and Burton’s slick production met up, the result would be the debut album, Mondo.
The disc begins with “Holes,” a clear Danger Mouse production, and even sounds a bit like recycled bits from the Broken Bells album. We don’t get a clear idea of what Electric Guest is until the next track “This Head I Hold,” a smooth dab of retro Motown, mixed with some vocals a la Cee-Lo and Jamiroquai. Check the video here.
From there, it is an obvious mix of the old and new, molding retro riffs with DM’s dreamy beats, perhaps never as obvious as on “Awake.” “Under The Gun” is one of my favorite tracks on the new disc, telling the story of pursuing dreams in the face of opposition. It has an eighties groove to it, and is one of the most intimate of tunes on the album. Another, “Troubleman,” serves as the cornerstone of the ten-track debut. At almost nine minutes, it wanders the gamut of different styles, and reminds me of MGMT’s “Siberian Breaks” in that regard, taking the listener on an aural journey.
The frantic “Waves” is an obvious nod to the Motown sound again, and brings “You Can’t Hurry Love” to mind, but Taccone pulls it off with less copycat vibe, and more of an homage. Slower second single, “American Daydream” brings back the Burton influence and wouldn’t be my choice for a single to show who they are as a band. I would much prefer a tune like “Bait” to showcase their sound, and am looking forward to following their career and direction as a group.
Try This Track: “Under the Gun”