Recording information: Good America Studios; Rodeo Recording, Santa Monica, CA; Studio B Palmquist Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Los Angeles-based duo Electric Guest made a sharp turn on their sophomore effort, Plural. Five years after their debut, Mondo, the pair returned with an album that was more icy electro sheen than hot-blooded retro throwback. On Mondo, Danger Mouse's production handiwork was obvious, imbuing Motown-inspired jams like "This Head I Hold" with his rhythmic groove and atmospheric cool. That early style -- which sounded more like a trip-hop and acid jazz Fitz and the Tantrums -- remains intact in certain spots (like "Back for Me," "Over," and "Hold On"), but five years have allowed vocalist/drummer/keyboardist Asa Taccone and bassist/guitarist Matthew Compton room to grow. Plural draws from nostalgic sounds reminiscent of the '70s and '80s ("Glorious Warrior" is straight out of the Hall & Oates "Maneater" universe), updated with a Currents-era Tame Impala vibe. These tracks shimmer, blending gossamer indie with synth-heavy electronics. The airy "See the Light" and strutting "My Omen" blend the aforementioned Tame Impala influence with Empire of the Sun, whose fingerprints also appear on the album highlight "Dear to Me." That single is a tender gem, featuring two Haim sisters on backing vocals and a lush Daft Punk robo-love twinkle. Overall, Plural is light and quite enjoyable, providing enough toe-tapping opportunities and warm fuzzy feelings to warrant a listen. While their influences are plenty, they don't distract from the overall vision of the album. Plural remains cohesive and undeniably pleasant in its positivity and sweetness. ~ Neil Z. Yeung