LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (DFA)

by Stephanie Duncan

"I waited seven years and fifteen days". If you skew the numbers a little, that's about how long I've been waiting for this release from LCD Soundsystem, aka James Murphy of DFA. I was hooked when he first started releasing music under the moniker LCD Soundsystem. This, I thought, is fucking disco punk. And lo, it was good.

So now we've got a full album. The minute I set it going, I knew it would at least keep my toes tapping. Throughout the whole album, Murphy quietly declares his musical influences. Bands like Can, the Beatles, and even Brian Eno are apparent and have a lot to do with it, while at the same time, nothing is ripped off. There's a lot of percussive handclaps, Murphy's patented vocals, not to mention a less-than subtle send up to Daft Punk. I'm under the impression that someone other than Murphy would have completely failed at the tongue-in-cheek nature of it. There's a lot of sound going on that's definately reminscent of the 70s, his own brand of disco punk. The vocals echo, there's sirens, isolated beats and they're all capable of performing well with the rest to create something infinitely grooveable. On a track like "Too Much Love" the vocals are contained but practically smoulder with sex appeal that makes you want to shake your hips.

One thing that James Murphy understands above all is that being a good producer is up there with being a creative mind. Yes, it is highly programmed and produced but it has moments of ultimate rock sensibility that would appeal to anyone just looking to rock right out. At times, if it weren't for his nasal drawl on certain tracks (Movement), and the beats ultimate descent into the background as the guitar takes forefront, it could have easily been passed off as techno from the Reason 2.0 programmer. On one of the slower tracks (Never as Tired), perhaps the lead-in stops it from having quite the crawling, sad appeal it might have had just standing on its on. It still has some impact, taking its influences from the late sixties, early seventies Beatle-esque guitars and vocalization.

You'd think it might slow down after that, but "Beats on Repeat" Murphy declares with a subtle cockiness. He wants you to know what you're listening to; the beats do repeat with their Casio keyboard seventies style simplicity that slowly bossoms into a catchy track replete with hi-hats and preprogrammed drums versus attacking guitars. It manages to hold your attention over the course of eight minutes, the only track that might be "epic". To catch you off-guard, he throws in some pulsating industrialized beats drilling into your frontal lobe while your feet are forced to dance to the African skinned drums on Thrills. Sometimes it sounds as if an Arcade machine did it with a punk rocker and this was their baby. You're even welcome to throw in a Chris Walken reference here and there thanks to the cowbells apparent on some tracks. And finally, any great disco punk frunk record would not be complete without a send-off to Brian Eno on the last song, Great Release. Well, at least we assume it wouldn't be. Probably one of the most intricate tracks and certainly the crowning achievement of the record.

Also released with the original nine songs were some of the singles. All I can say is: listen to them.

Feb. 2005