Electric Guest, “KIN” (Atlantic Records)
Maybe the third time will be the charm for Electric Guest, a sunny southern California pop duo who deserves more attention. Their third album, “KIN,” is a breezy confection of fiendishly clever pop hooks augmented by some computer wizardry.
The 11-track album from Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton kicks off with “Dollar,” the best song on the album — and the one that perfectly sums it up: “Turn the music up and get it poppin’/ I’m trying to have some fun before I die.”
The infectious grooves continue with the reggae-pop “More,” the R&B-inflected “Play With Me” and the expertly crafted electro-cool of “Birthday.” The vocals get seriously warped by computer effects on “Basic,” and they almost sound like Alvin the Chipmunk on “24-7” and “I Got the Money” but somehow pull it off with goofiness and grooviness.
Most of the songs concern love gone bad, but there’s self-conscious humor throughout the album, appropriate for a Taccone project. He won an Emmy Award for co-writing the “Saturday Night Live” skit “Dick in a Box.”
On “Play with Me,” Taccone interrupts his breakup song with “Shesh, call the police.” On “Dollar,” he breaks character again: “Pssh, everybody’s a model.” On the funky “I Got the Money,” the band mocks everything from greed to the internet and layers in a gravel-voiced radio DJ. Ne-Yo stops by for “Freestyle,” with unrushed lyrics over what sounds like the electro-beat of that ’80s show “Knight Rider.”
The net effect is a big bounce back from the band’s underwhelming “Plural,” which nonetheless gave us the sensational “Oh Devil.” Since then, Taccone worked on Portugal. The Man’s Grammy-winning 2017 track “Feel It Still” and contributed a song to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Dedicated.”
But Electric Guest, with its shards of quirky audio asides, its retro feel and yet very current sound is where the music really shines. Check them out. Be our guest.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits