Electric Guest - Mondo
The new album by Electric Guest is being produced by Danger Mouse. That is the hook that the PR companies are working on, and probably the overriding thing that you will hear in passing about the record and/or band. The reason for this is because essentially Electric Guest are complete newcomers to the music scene and with such a highly regarded producer and musician championing their music, it certainly helps the cause.
Upon listening to Mondo it is immediately noticeable why the aforementioned mouse has jumped on board with the project. The songs are melodic and catchy numbers, generally upbeat and seem like a hybrid of The Shins and Gnarls Barkley. The overall vibe of the music is generally indebted to soul (though diluted somewhat) whilst being best described as indie-pop. The funk sensibilities of MGMT also seem present, and the band could probably be filed next to Foster the People or OK Go in the grand scheme of things.
Mondo is very easy on the ear, and that is both its strength and its weakness. The first four tracks quickly position themselves as songs that get a head nodding and a foot tapping. 'Awake' uses strong melody lines and chord progressions in the chorus to ingrain itself into the listener. 'Under the Gun' and 'This Head I Hold' both feature tinkling piano and laid back vocals backed by funk rhythm sections. 'Amber' slows down proceedings halfway in and it benefits from it. 'Waves' however, is a real dud sounding like 'Walking on Sunshine' by Katrina and the Waves mixed with 'Valerie' being sung by Plan B. 'Trouble Man' is the obligatory moment of casual epicness (nearly nine minutes) and 'American Day Dream' saunters along nicely. Whilst the tracks are enjoyable, there isn't quite the killer single amongst them that the album needs, and this will probably stop it from taking the airwaves by storm and consequently become a very lucrative pop record.
Danger Mouse's touch seems apparent almost from the opening few seconds of Mondo. His impact on the record is good; it is slick, though occasionally over-produced (electronic squelches and fizzes are everywhere) and he has obviously pointed the band in the right direction. It is very listenable and very inoffensive, and with the summer and festival season approaching the band could become a real hit. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit more dangerous then I deem it best to look elsewhere. There are few unexpected turns and at times the band appears to be just joining the dots. If Radio 1 gets its mitts on it we may be hearing a lot more from Electric Guest but until then, who knows?