On record, LCD Soundsystem is one man, James Murphy, and his self-titled debut album shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with all aspects of his work so far. A listen to DFA Compilation 2, featuring artists on the Death From Above label, all produced by label managers Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy, will confirm similar shifts in style. LCD Soundsystem goes from referencing the French house duo, Daft Punk, one minute to sounding like The Fall the next.
Although this could be classified overall as dance/rock, tracks will often veer to either extreme before it returns to an unsteady middle ground. Too Much Love has the sort of build and pulsing bass you might expect from Underworld, not to mention some clattering percussion to really get the feet moving. Then there are the extended disco-funk work-outs of Beat Connection and Yeah (both versions). At the other end of the spectrum is Movement, the most straightforwardly punky thing here, Murphy affecting a Mark E. Smith style "ah" at the end of every line. Immediately after this track, he drops his sneer for one of the record’s more mellow turns; Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up is the sort of lazy guitar tune which makes one feel justified in hiding under the duvet all day.
The album is ultimately tied together by what may be described as a certain archness, although it could be that the lyrics are just sending up the sort of person one might expect Murphy to be. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House is an excellent piss-take of cool, while at the same time being effortlessly cool itself. Another example is Losing My Edge, a name-dropping monologue about the fickleness of trying to keep with the latest trends. "I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables/ I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars/ I hear that everybody you know is more relevant than everybody I know."
The only major flaw of LCD Soundsystem is that it is often easier to admire than to love. It’s unlikely to find the same favour with the general public as those other revisionists Franz Ferdinand and Scissor Sisters, neither of whose material is totally outside this ballpark. Having aborted or turned down projects with Britney Spears, Janet Jackson and Duran Duran, Murphy is clearly, for better or worse, a man with his own agenda. Who knows if he’ll eventually turn his hand to a ‘big’ album? Right now, however, this isn’t a bad place to begin appreciating his considerable talent.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 10:30:23