Murphy manages to translate harsh, neurotically discordant punk-funk values into a...
Martin Longley 2007-03-08
Although existing as a fully live touring band, the studio-inhabiting LCD Soundsystem is basically Mister James Murphy, who also happens to be the co-owner of DFA Records. That's Death From Above. Occasionally, he'll invite his four extra LCD players upstate from their roosts in Manhattan central, to lay down some tracks, but it's Murphy himself who sings and/or yelps the most, combining his love for electro-looping with faithful old drums and guitars.
This second album upholds the quality of songwriting from LCD's 2005 debut. Murphy manages to translate harsh, neurotically discordant punk-funk values into a contagious dancefloor commerciality. These tunes have edge, but the listener will be humming them immediately. Murphy calls out, and the backing vocals invariably shout back, creating a snappy singalong opportunity.
It's usually unhealthy to tabulate influences, but that's quite unavoidable here. Murphy's record boxes are clearly open to all platters, his inspirations many and diverse. Vocally, there are hints of Brian Eno on the sweeping ballads, Mark E. Smith on the yapping punkers. Structurally, there's Tom Tom Club, ESG, Talking Heads and The Modern Lovers, whilst sonically, we have Roxy Music, Steve Reich and Arcade Fire. And those last three are all on one track, ''All My Friends''. Can we also mention The Velvet Underground, Robert Fripp and A Certain Ratio?
When the electro-patterns are shimmering, James is cavorting at the Giorgio Moroder end of disco, making a starkly minimalist opening with ''Get Innocuous''. But it's the second and third numbers, ''Time To Get Away'' and ''North American Scum'', that are destined to repeat and repeat as classic cuts. Murphy certainly adores repetition, but only when the hook justifies the repeating. He likes to clamp down on his own energy explosions, building and building towards each new emission, accumulating tension and excitement on the way.