Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, better known as the Neptunes, are one of hip-hop’s slicker recording teams. Together, they have created hits for artists ranging from Jay Z and Ol’ Dirty Bastard to No Doubt and Janet Jackson. Now the pair has struck out on its own as N.E.R.D., a project that emphasizes live instrumentation over sampled magic. In Search Of… lies somewhere between Jamiroquai and Basehead, headstrong funk that flows from trippy to cynical, reemphasizing the meaningless over and over again. The music ranges from the lurching Marilyn Manson riff of “Lapdance” to the breathy “Tape You,” which features the innocuous lyric: “Relax girl, sip some of my Slurpee, you don’t have to lie to me.” Although many of N.E.R.D.’s lyrics suffer from formulaic brain freeze, there’s almost enough catchiness here to recommend this one.