Karen O and Danger Mouse have described their first-ever collaborative album Lux Prima as a “shared destination,” and by the sounds of it, space is their place. The nine-song LP is a lush journey down the milky way of their rock ’n’ roll sensibilities, meaning a bit of the signature rough-around-the-edges heaviness in Karen O’s voice converging with Danger Mouse’s star-gazing, atmospheric production.
The LP starts off ambitiously: the nine-minute title track is like a space-rock “Sicko Mode” as the tempo and even entire energy of the song changes every couple minutes: it starts off deceivingly as a drifty instrumental before unfolding into a sunburst before settling into a smooth, hypnotic R&B burn. The album shifts between extra-terrestrial disco (“Turn the Light”), seductive rock teases (“Leopard’s Tongue”) and anthemic pop blitzes (“Woman”). But the genre explorations are tied together beautifully with the overarching synth-washed camp of their otherworldly dreams.
Of course, the album’s trippy quality sometimes leads it astray: there are moments when the general “vibe-y” tone get sleepy – a rare way of describing any music made by either Karen O or Danger Mouse. Moments like “Ministry” and “Drown” get easily lost amidst the more charismatic, raucous moments that make your eardrums dance. Their psychedelic experimentations work best when they’re both turning it up to 11.
While the sound of Lux Prima feels unexpected based off these artists’ distinct histories, Karen O and Danger Mouse have unlocked a new creative force within each other. They reach their shared destination with little turbulence and quite a gorgeous view to boot. Plus on this trip, all the seats are first class.