Wednesday, January 03, 2007

LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver

If LCD Soundsystem's first full length release was the riotous preamble to a brief repeat-age of raving punk rockers discovering the frivolous abandon of disco (read The Clash and Crass in the early eighties) and angular, indie geeks with dilated pupils behind their Buddy Holly goggles, then Sound of Silver, for me anyway, is the strung-out postscript to the golden age of electroclash.

Featuring all of the earmarks of the DFA sound, from the stacatto, garbage-bin percussion solos through cowbell cacophany, to the much-bitten handclap overload, Sound Of Silver is, more than anything, an articulation of everything these guys have been experimenting with over the past couple of years of remixing, DJing, live shows and producing. It is the point at which James Murphy's production goes from a style to an album, which would be a shocker if you never heard any of what's been happening at DFA in the interim between two albums. If not, it fits pretty well in the grand scheme of this collective of musicians. Leaving behind the mix-tape style of the first record (and pretty much everything else ever released on DFA records), this recording has a detectable flow. In the wake of the 45:33 blunder (anything anyone does for Nike is a blunder. I don't care how majestic the grooves or how complete the emotional crescendo), the good folks at LCD are clearly trying to introduce a stronger element of their live act into the mix (which is one reason why the tour of this album is going to be epic). It's gradual, it's groovy, and it sets James Murphy squarely as the Fela Kuti/Tito Puente/James Brown kind of character he plays in concert. It's unabashedly mainstream and agressively accessible, unlike the other LCD Soundsystem album. Aside from any obvious attempts at pop-dom, you'd think that would be an essentially good thing, but listenability does have its failings.

By this I mean that the musicality of the album and the thought-out order of the songs completely eliminate the possibility for a banger to emerge. Proof: did you hear any tracks from this album on New Years Eve? No, you didn't, even though every single electro DJ in existance has hornswoggled themselves a copy of this album. Tribulations blew your face right off of your head; Someone Great is Gone made you tap your feet and reflect about your contradictory, modern existance. Daft Punk is Playing at My House is the reason you're on bad terms with your downstairs neighbors; Watch the Tapes made you wonder if your mom might just want to hear the music her kids listen to.

No, this album is not a banger, a rager, or subculture classic like the first one. But it's still awesome, and I'll tell you why: James Murphy is a funky cat who is remarkable at concocting the feeling that a song is talking to you, and his perception and communication of the hedonistic experience of youth is nearly flawless. Anyways, all your favorite albums don't all have to make you want to punch holes in the walls.

I will, however, have to call bullshit on the track called All My Friends, which could have appeared on a U2 or Tragically Hip album and I never would have noticed, and although Someone Great really is great, it was already released on the Nike promo Super-sellout deluxe album.

If my brief history of listening to this album is any indication, however, I'll delete this post in two days and replace it with an entirely different opinion. Actually, this is the third review of the album I've wrote already!