Wednesday, April 4, 2007

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver

Grade: 84.4%
Official Score: 87.2%

What The Other's Think

Pitchfork Score: 9.2
Tiny Mix Tapes Score: N/A
Coke Machine Glow Score: N/A

New York may be a city with plenty of twist but a severe lack of shout, as James Murphy describes on Sound of Silver'sfinal track, "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down", but there's more than enough of both on this album to go around.

Personally, I'm just happy Murphy finally got the ball rolling on this project of his in the first place. Sure, there were re-mixes and 12 inches in the hands of DJs for years, but to be quite honest, none of those tracks really thrill me. LCD's first proper release, 2005's self-titled album, was honestly the first time I ever found myself enjoying an LCD Soundsystem song. Its not that the earlier stuff is bad, but those songs, "Losing My Edge", "Beat Connection", any version of "Yeah", all lose something once they're taken out of the club and brought into the home. That same thing cannot be said for the two full lengths (I'm not counting the Nike thing in this...sorry). Both albums, but especially Sound of Silver, don't require your neighborhood DJ's approval for you to play while, say, taking a shower, or cooking your sweetheart the nude. This is an album, of dance songs, yeah, but it is still first and foremost an album.

Much has been said about Murphy's influences, and they're here alright: Bowie, Eno, Tears For Fears and 80's new wave/pop, post-punk (just in general), 70s rock, just about everything this man has ever heard and liked probably found a way on this record. But honestly, the biggest point of reference I notice is his own unmistakable production. The first track "Get Innocuous" is reminiscent of the Rapture's "Killing", and "Us V Them" could be the next "House of Jealous Lovers". Even the album's closer, the slow, piano driven "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" is, at times, almost exactly like "Open Up Your Heart". But never once does it seem like he's ripping them off, and how could he? The DFA "co-produced" Echoes with the Rapture, but after the release of the latest Rapture album last fall and now Sound of Silver, it is obvious how big of a hand Murphy had in shaping the Rapture's sound on Echoes.

There are moments on this album that drag a bit if you're listening at home. Songs run too long, cadences become to repetitive, chords don't progress. Still, there are more than enough songs that absolutely kill. "Time to Get Away" is fairly restrained, but once it gets going you'll have a hard time sitting down. "North American Scum", the album's first single, may complain about the American party scene, but who knows, with the song's clunky guitars and Murphy's falsetto perhaps a revolution will be started. The album's highlight, "All My Friends", sounds like U2 when they were young and considered post-punk, and good (though Murphy has a tendency to sound like Bono throughout the whole album, not just this song). The song never once gets boring during its 7 1/2 minutes, the only long song on the album I didn't spend counting the seconds or wishing I could ditch the headphones and dance (for reviews, I listen to albums with headphones on to ensure I hear everything going on, for better or worse...). After that it's all head nodding, hip shaking goodness until the final track, where even though Murphy laments that his fair city is letting him down, you know he's never going to leave it (unless its for a lengthy tour, thanks for coming to Kansas/Missouri by the way). Which is kind of like this album, there will probably be a song or two that will let you down, but chances are if you let it grow on you, there will be no desire to let it get away.

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