Thursday, June 3, 2010

Album review - LCD Soundsystem 'This is Happening'

LCD Soundsystem
‘This Is Happening’
JAMES MURPHY has always been known as something of a prankster, famously roping EMI into releasing albums by other lesser known artists in return for the rights to his music as LCD Soundsystem and releasing songs such as the jokey dance classic “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”.
Murphy, co-founder of DFA Records, released his first single as LCD Soundsystem, Losing My Edge, as something of a lark in 2002, before it became an underground dance hit.
Here, on his third and apparently last excursion under the Soundsystem moniker, it appears Murphy is getting a bit serious on us.
After the universally acclaimed Sound of Silver in 2007 - the second LCD album - Murphy had the world at his feet, such was the superb quality of anthems such as Someone Great and All My Friends.
However, it seems Murphy never imagined LCD as a long-term project, a fact reflected on some of the tracks on this album.
Gone mostly is the bombastic dance-pop tracks we knew and loved - with the exception of the loudmouth indie-dance tracks Drunk Girls and Pow Pow, and in its place is a sort of beleaguered electro, that still often reaches euphoric levels, despite Murphy’s hangdog expression.
The key track on the album is ‘You Wanted A Hit’, where Murphy sings: “You wanted a hit / but maybe we don’t do hits / I try and try / but it ends up feeling wrong’.
This album is something of a grower, such is the diversity of sounds and influences on offer, from the synth-heavy, Human League influenced opener Dance Yrself, the Chemical Brothers beat of One Touch, and the slow, druggy, Lou Reed haze of Somebody’s Calling Me.
The standout tracks are the effervescent All I Want, which sees Murphy employ a David Bowie of Heroes-era guitar line, and the absolutely superb album closer Home, drenched as it is in synths, beats and harmonies.
Murphy would have us believe that he is tired of all of this, a 40-odd year old producer lost in a world of younger dance producers.
Despite this, his latest album, against the odds, stacks up among his finest work. It is just a pity he doesn’t seem interested in continuing to add to this heritage.

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