“And all around me the signals find a way,” Lucas Ufo sings on “<3beat,” the eighth track on Peer 2 Peer. It’s a fitting description for his impressive debut album as WORLD BRAIN. The LP’s overarching theme is information overload—the crushing amount of data available in the digital age. It’s not just reflected in Peer 2 Peer’s suggestive lyrics, but also in its off-kilter pop, the product of exposure to a dizzyingly eclectic array of influences.
It’s hard to pin down a stylistic center on Peer 2 Peer; the album pings from one musical touchstone to the other. Blissfully saccharine opener “The Pangean Anthem” is muzak-y vaporwave mixed with twangy surf, while “Hypertext” is a new wave/post-punk/electronica mashup on which Ufo complains breathily about “dealing with the distance from me to you.” Likewise, the washed-out synths and languid vocals of “Made U Cry” brings to mind latter-day John Maus, just as the electro-pop of “It’s All True” recalls the oversexed funk of late ’80s Prince.
Ufo is a member of the similarly adventurous group Fenster, but where that Berlin quartet’s experimental prog-pop is more grounded in the personal and the romantic, WORLD BRAIN’s focus on Peer 2 Peer is sociological—taking aim at life in a society dominated by the internet. Rather than depicting some present-day digital utopia, its dusky electronics and bittersweet guitars evoke nostalgia for what our society might have become.