LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
Whilst there are some that approach a Rubik's cube with a screwdriver, there are others who enjoy the art of reaching the solution organically. These are the type of people who, upon opening a jigsaw don't immediately reach for the scissors and sellotape. This Is Happening is the final part of the LCD Soundsystem trilogy and it may require a little bit of experimentation and patience to solve this puzzle. Determining which camp of the problem-solving mindset you are in may well affect your journey with this record.
James Murphy has always been a tease and nothing has changed here - album opener 'Dance Yrself Clean' starts in a very minimal place and as it continues it drops subtle hints at what's round the corner. Little glimmers of the future begin to peek in between the notes and before you know it all the promises are answered as everything drops into place. When he finally lets the track off the leash demented woodpeckers of bass are on hand to propel it straight through the roof. It's a technique he employs expertly throughout the album: 'You Wanted A Hit' dips its toe in the water several times before spectacularly divebombing into the deep end. This management of expectation alongside anticipation never fails to delight.
But there are times when it feels like the mastermind behind this complex and multifaceted mind-fuck has accidentally put pieces from another puzzle in the box, making it impossible to complete or understand the bigger picture. The dischord on 'All I Want' and 'Somebody's Calling Me' seem at first abrasive and unnecessary, detracting from the piece rather than adding form or texture. But this is a problem that can't be solved in just one pass. In fact the random modular noises that occupy several tracks could well be the sound of a thousand supercomputers attempting to unlock Murphy's guarded algorithms.
But clarity is within reach with just a smidgen of time and effort. Even when it isn't playing your brain will be assembling the pieces. You may find yourself having dreams soundtracked by the record; sitting bolt up-right in bed at 3 AM following a dream where you are being chased through the Cotswolds by the Thundercats as 'Drunk Girls' plays is perfectly normal. Then one day it suddenly it all makes sense - it's completely under your skin and you can never go back. The disorder that plagued early listens is lost forever and in its place is left a majestic sculpture of aural ecstasy.
So it would seem that LCD Soundsystem intend to close this chapter in their history as they began; with a concept that on early inspection seems implausible yet in actualisation is immense. This might be a slow burner but by the end of the year could be topping many of the favourite album lists. Cast away your screwdriver. Brute force is no substitute for putting it all together yourself. When has anything worth having ever been given away for free?