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CD Review: Electric Guest “Plural”

Together, Asa Taccone (a musician known for his musical contributions to the Digital Shorts routines on SNL as well as being an ex-Hip Hop producer) and Matthew “Cornbread” Compton (a multi-talented individual who creates musical scores for movies like MacGruber and plays the drums in the band Engine Down as well as others) make up the core of the Los Angeles-based Electric Guest, a group that adds Luke Top on bass and Reese Richardson on keyboards/guitar whenever they go on tour. As a musical ensemble, Electric Guest has created two albums of original material. The first album is entitled Mondo and their newest release is a Danger Mouse-produced album entitled Plural.

Released earlier in 2017, Plural from Electric Guest is an album of music that fits nicely into the Indie Rock category. The duo of Taccone and Compton combine elements of Rock and Roll, Soul, even a little Hip Hop and Reggae together to create the band’s style that is rather laidback in its delivery. But that laidback delivery creates a sound that would fit easily on most Top 40, Adult Contemporary and Hot A/C radio formats. That nearly universal appeal translates into a wide potential audience for the band’s music.

Plural from Electric Guest begins with the track “Zero”. The track features the band’s unique sparse delivery. Like most of the songs performed by Electric Guest, “Zero” is created with one keyboard and drums that create the main body of the music and the bass and second keyboard that are there simply to add depth to the music. The lyrics to the track “Zero” are delivered in such a manner that the listener can hear hints of “Something in the Way She Moves” from the Beatles in the vocals from Asa Taccone. There is also a slightly retro feel to the music of the track as well as the keyboards give the song a slight New Wave feel.

The new release from Electric Guest continues with the track “Glorious Warrior”. With this track, the duo of Taccone and Compton create a track that features pace to the music that is quite a bit sped up from the previous track. The quick pace to the music is matched up with a musical sound that is definitely based within the Indie portion of Rock and Roll. In fact, the music to the song simply sounds like a quickened version of the music from the band’s one track called “Dear to Me” that shows up a few tracks later on the Plural release. The resulting song of “Glorious Warrior” creates a music feel that is lively but also strangely familiar because of the use of a quicker version of one of the band’s other songs. The track ultimately feels like a track that would feel right at home in a Discotheque back in the seventies during the height of the Disco era.

With the track “Back and Forth,” the band’s sparse musical delivery really comes through. The keyboards that create the music of the song bring to mind pop bands from the eighties. Moreover, the music of the track and the falsetto vocals from Asa Taccone bring to mind the style of George Michael and the band WHAM! The track begins with a very simple melody created on the keyboard and the voice of Taccone which creates a glorified acapella feel to the track. Soon, just a few more keyboards are added to the song that results in a track that contains an eighties Pop/New Wave feel to it.

The Plural release continues with one of the songs that have become rather popular since the release of the album. The track “Dear to Me” features a strong keyboard presence that creates New Wave/Pop feel to the song with a slight Motown influence to the music. That musical combination creates a track that comes across as very infectious and catchy. The song is built on a sparse keyboard delivery that allows for the vocals from Asa Taccone to truly stand out. The lyrics to the refrain contain a strong falsetto presence as well as harmonic feel that adds to the catchy nature to the track. Having been around since before the album was actually released, “Dear to Me” has been getting the band’s name out there to help them add to their already tight-knit but loyal fanbase.

The feel of the music for the Plural release from Electric Guest changes drastically on the track “Oh Devil”. The track contains a very powerful danceable beat to the music with a slight Reggae feel to it. The danceable quality comes as a result a much stronger bass presence on the track than most of the other songs that make up the album. The Reggae feel on the track is added to with the inclusion of Reggae artist Devin Di Dakta who adds his personal touches to the track. “Oh Devil” is one of the standout tracks on the release as well as one of the catchiest.

Much like “Oh Devil,” the song “Back for Me” separates itself from the earlier tracks on the album. The song features a much heavier and prominent bass part that goes along with a much more prominent drum part. Together, the bass and drums combine to create a straight-out Rock and Roll beat. That strong beat is joined by the keyboards to create a track that is as close to Alternative Rock as the band gets on this release. The vocals on the refrain for the track are delivered in a way that their harmonic quality brings to mind vocal arrangements from back in the sixties with groups from Motown bands like The Association or The Beach Boys. Like many of the tracks that make up the Plural release, “Back for Me” is a catchy track that will immediately grab the listener’s attention.

The Plural release from Electric Guest is one of those rare albums that features such strong tracks that you simply put the album on and let the release play out. There isn’t one song on the album that brings down the quality of the release. My only complaint is that I had not discovered this album much sooner in the year.

To hear the music of Electric Guest, check out their video to the track “Dear to Me“.

For more information, check out the band’s record label Downtown Records.

To check out the Plural release from Electric Guest, click on the album cover below:

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