Review : Electric Guest - Mondo
PitchforkYou know how the saying goes, "if so-and-so didn't exist, they'd have to invent them!" Well, if a Downtown A&R came into a strategy meeting with the blueprint for Electric Guest, they'd be on workman's comp after all the back-patting. The buzzed-about L.A. band is pretty much a bulletproof combination of who you know and what you know-- lead singer Asa Taccone's brother Jorma is one of the songwriters in the Lonely Island, and they quickly caught the attention of the increasingly unstoppable Danger Mouse. But more important is that their sound perfectly anticipates a logical extension of the MGMT/Passion Pit/Foster the People trickle-down effect, composed like corporate pop, produced like radio R&B, and given a synth-and-guitar power trio presentation that somehow lets it scan as "indie rock." Add Danger Mouse and the fact that the slightly built, photogenic Taccone even dances a lot like Mark Foster, and how can this fail? Not surprisingly, their debut Mondo does turn out as something like a useful industry tool, but it's not so much a replicable schematic as it is a cautionary tale of what happens when a "hit record" forgets to actually include hits.
Don't blame Danger Mouse, though his fingerprints are all over this thing, for better or worse. Unfortunately, it's for worse at the outset, as opener "Holes" mismatches a wobbly synth progression with unctuous artificial string cheese, invoking his egregious ability to make things sound simultaneously demo-cheap and overproduced. For the most part though, Mondo coasts on his M.O. to produce animated renderings of soul music-- something that's facially roots-based, but decked out with enough Pro Tools tricks to avoid being the stuff of revivalists. "This Head I Hold" does recall the rave-up R&B of Gnarls Barkley, and "Awake" does riff with enough bluesy grit to recall the Black Keys, and the vast majority of the trad-indie second half of Mondo does do a passable Broken Bells. ...full text
SunsetintherearviewIf I had to tab one artist under the “Will Blow Up Over Summer” label, Electric Guest would be on the receiving end of my vote, no question. (Well dammit, then you’ve got Reptar). Either way, there’s no doubt both are incredibly worthy, and unfortunately my awards mean NOTHING. Anyhoo… I digress.
The Los Angeles duo comprised of Asa Tacone & Matthew Compton have succeeded in setting the bar high with their debut album Mondo. The ten song album somehow finds a way to cruise along with ease, as each song possesses a unique little something that some would call the “intangibles.” After multiple plays through the album the leading candidates for my personal favorite tracks are “Troubleman”, “Awake”, “This Head I Hold,” & “Amber” (Those would be in no particular order).
Oh, and did I mention this album was produced by the legendary Danger Mouse? You know these dude’s are good when I get this far into a review and have not dropped the legendary Danger Mouse’s name. Typically, I feel when music tends to become “produced” it loses some of that raw / natural sound that’s inherent of the band’s overall vibe. Although it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Electric Guest’s “sound” is, it is relatively clear that they resemble a funky indie pop group tangled with a folksy almost 70′s-ish vibe. Very cool stuff if you ask me....full text
BeatsperminuteWith a sound as big as its name, Electric Guest’s debut, Mondo has emerged from a six-year gestation fully formed and friendly, hitting the ears with the ease of absolutely perfect, sun-soaked pop. This L.A. duo cuts the difference between back-up vocals and bass beats, soul power and sexy slithering, to create undeniably catchy numbers aimed wide, but shooting sharp.
More than the sexy-nothingness lyrical content of much of today’s pop, Mondo sings sweetly and accessibly about almost anything but. Lead singer and songwriter Asa Taccone’s words focus on a larger worldview, matching pessimistic snapshots of society with an ultimately carefree shrug, stuck in-between jangling upbeats and shoulder-shaking bass. In “Waves,” a perfect example of this contradictory compliment, Asa sings, “They say it’s never easy when you’re 23/ But maybe that’s a lie and it’s just ha-arder on me” over a clap-happy sound that would put Buddy Holly to shame.
The shadow of Danger Mouse, who approached Electric Guest and offered to lend his superstar producer powers to their project, stretches long over some songs. Mondo has a similar vibe to Gnarls Barkley, particularly in the way that it merges retro-romantic sounds like constant claps with a more modern dance sensibility, creating a lush backdrop for Asa’s jazzy falsetto, particularly in songs like “This Head I Hold.”...full text
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