Discover America - Future Paths (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Discover America

Future Paths (2010)


Discover America's Future Paths is the second full-length by Chris Staples under this moniker, and it's not a far cry from what the former twothirtyeight frontman has been doing with this name: restrained, quiet indie pop/rock vaguely reminiscent of a more Evan Dando-led We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes-era Death Cab, or a more lo-fi, keyboard-enhanced take on the Honorary Title circa Anything Else But the Truth–when he isn't taking on folkier, alt-country overtones, anywy.

It's often free-wheeling in that Staples isn't building these songs up with any sort of wildly intense emotions or life-altering tensions, but he guides them with an effortless sort of hand. The aforementioned comparisons come easy when opener "Force of Proper Wind" flows into the more road-ish shuffle of "1979". The synth tones of "Devil in the Woods" have a cheeky James Dewees feel that contrasts against a more hazily agitated mode. Country twang invades "Time Is a Bird".

These are full-band endeavors, with Staples backed by an able and steady quartet who never overshadows their frontman's meditated hand. He's got a delivery that resides somewhere between somewhat apathetic and slightly timid, an almost indescribable feel that's charismatic regardless. "Sawdust in My Clothes" exhibits this well, and it's more like the stuff on his 2005 full-length, Psychology, even though much of this album feels a little thinner instrumentally and sonically.

One of the most alluring traits about Staples' earlier stuff was how catchy and miserable he could be at once, and this album doesn't ever beckon in either direction, let alone simultaneously. Overall, it's definitely easier-going than this reviewer's used to hearing from him–and perhaps relatively forgettable–but it's not at all a bad emotional or stylistic turn.

Force of Proper Wind

When You Were Young
Sawdust in My Clothes