Downtown Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/07/2012
Matthew Compton and Asa Taccone were wise to align themselves with legendary producer Danger Mouse. Though considering Danger Mouse has taken the duo under his wing from day one, actually moving them into his LA home to flesh out this debut, it only seems logical. Trimmed down from an astonishing 100 possible tracks to ten, Mondo drops in time for you to play it as loud as possible while driving to the beach, windows down.
As to be expected with Danger Mouse at the helm, this is an extremely high polished listen of sunny, innocuous, soulful pop. At some points it sounds so crisp and clean, it hardly seems plausible it was human made. It’s the kind of music anyone will enjoy: easy on the ears, memorable in its delivery –though it varies enough from track to track to keep from becoming stale. Electric Guest possesses a highly eclectic arsenal of influences.
While tracks like “Hold” employ accordions (hardly standard fare among this type of sound), others like “Awake” take on a reggae spirit, and when they need to, they can pull out a timeless melody and inject it where necessary, such as the nine minute “Trouble Man,” which is so memorable it never has you checking your watch. Their sound is hard to pinpoint, sometimes sounding like a ‘70s funk band, other times a modern folk-based indie outfit and other times channeling a Motown vibe. Lyrically these songs don’t always tackle the most joyous themes, but the arrangements are always radiating perkiness and endless beaming rays.
Mondo is a disc that truly has something for everyone. The smooth synth work and catchy basslines really illuminate the songs well, and when you add Asa’s charming falsetto and the overall gentle, sugary pop dripping all over this, it really becomes not so much if you like this, but just how much you like it.