Don’t call it a side project. Eric Frederic may have started Wallpaper as a spontaneous novelty while recording the debut full-length of his band Facing New York, but now — with many of FNY’s original members gone and a continuously rising interest in Frederic’s infectious and often hilarious pop-satire — his focus seems to be increasingly centered on Wallpaper. And why not? This has been one hell of a summer for the project. Garnering attention from MTV, Pitchfork, The Village Voice, Idolator, and Perez Hilton (!?), it seems to be straight blowin’ up at this point.
Like most good pop music, Wallpaper is built on fun and escapism for listener and creator alike, allowing Frederic to transform from his thoughtful and soft-spoken self into the cool, conceited, and audacious Ricky Reed. This alter-ego exudes excess in all respects, leaving room for all sorts of satire, mockery, and comedy in general. And it comes in many forms: voicemail messages (pager # y’all: 510-493-7835), YouTube video blogs, Twitter, his Cool Genius blog, stage banter, and of course the music itself. But between all the jokes, absurd posturing, and overindulgent use of autotune, lies a batch of well-crafted dance jams that simultaneously pay tribute to the very music being satirized — vocoder-funk, hyphy, R&B, new jack swing, pop. Joined by live drummer Arjun Singh, Wallpaper’s bold electro-funk is even more fully realized at their ridiculously fun shows. Sure, the banter is always golden, but in a live setting the music explodes with energy and absolutely demands that the audience lose its collective mind. I’ve seen them three times in the past five months and it simply doesn’t get old.
A couple weeks ago, Wallpaper dropped the first single from their upcoming debut Doodoo Face on iTunes (which seems like an unfortunate title until Ricky Reed breaks down the meaning for ya). “I Got Soul, I’m So Wasted”, one of many killer cuts on this record, is an insanely catchy pillar of glam electro. Atop dense, driving percussion, explosions of soaring synth and bass, and revolving layers of drones, tones, blips, and beeps, Ricky Reed lays down massive autotune hooks with copious amounts of swagger. Familiar and yet original in its own right, this track is a perfect introduction to an album that’s perfect for gettin’ dancefloors movin’. Be sure to pick it up when it drops on Eenie Meenie Records on September 22nd and definitely don’t miss Wallpaper when they come through your town (tour dates available after the jump).
Buy: Pick up “I Got Soul, I’m So Wasted” from iTunes now. You can also pre-order Doodoo Face on CD or Vinyl from Insound.
Watch: The video for “I Got Soul, I’m So Wasted” (which coincidentally plays out kind of how I remember the last Wallpaper show I went to) is currently nominated for a vote to be included in the regular rotation over at mtvU. Head over to The Freshman video section and obsessively vote for Wallpaper — if they win they’ll reward fans with an mp3 of the title track from their debut. [Update: They won.]