LCD Soundsystem: James Murphy (various instruments); Tim Goldsworthy, Patrick Mahoney, Tyler Pope, Eric Broucek, Nancy Whang, Mandy Coon.
Recording information: Longview Farms, North Brookfield, Massachusetts (2005); Plantain Recording House, New York, New York.
As half of the NYC underground-legend production team DFA, James Murphy was responsible for countless crafty retoolings of late-1970s/early-'80s sounds of the electroclash/post-punk-revival variety. Wearing his "artist" hat under the LCD Soundsystem moniker, Murphy concocted his own minimal-synth club hits, full of both hipster irony ("Losing My Edge") and catchy electro-hooks ("Yeah").
Finally unleashed for the length of a full album, Murphy's muse still offers up plenty of John-Foxx-will-rise-again retro synth sounds, but he expands his palette as well. The irresistibly catchy "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House" is a funky, riff-driven party-starter that compares favorably to vintage Beck, and "On Repeat" indicates a fascination with the lyrical cadences of the Fall's Mark E. Smith. Moving further back in time to the art-rock era, "Never as Tired as When I'm Waking Up" is a dreamy tune that could have slipped unnoticed off Pink Floyd's MEDDLE, and "Great Release" is an unabashed, slow-building Eno homage. To keep the club kids happy, a bonus disc featuring LCD's previous singles (including the aforementioned faves) is tacked on to an already-attractive package.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (No. 968, pp.70-2) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[M]urphy has followed [the single 'Losing My Edge'] with an album that's just as good....[these tracks] either push the extremes of Murphy's dance-rock fusion...or fall unexpectedly far outside it..."
Spin (p.64) - Ranked #5 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "[W]ith his trippy, studio-pop mimicry of Lennon and Eno, the man who taught the indie kids to dance now tricks techno tots into humming along."
Spin (pp.89-91) - "[A] set documenting, like the best, most heartfelt mix tapes, a sweet time that can't be fully recaptured." - Grade: B+
Entertainment Weekly (No. 808, p.100) - "[F]abulous dance music....unites the club and indie-rock crowds in ways few have attempted since the '80s..." - Grade: A-
Uncut (p.74) - 5 stars out of 5 - "[H]ere the will to change, improve, transcend and question positively thumps out in a liquid crystal display."
Alternative Press (p.128) - 5 out of 5 - "[A]n album that will survive the fleeting tastes of cosmopolitan hipsters..."
Magnet (p.115) - "This is a one-man walking jukebox with a lifetime's worth of records in his head..."
Magnet (p.104) - "You can dance to almost anything here, but between breaths, you'll marvel at his control and the way each sound pops like a primary color."
The Wire (p.44) - Included in The Wire's "2005 Rewind: 50 Records Of The Year."
The Wire (p.46) - "Self-reference, satire, retro, all of these are abundant on LCD SOUNDSYSTEM....For the anxious and disoriented who need to know where it's at, well, here's one place to start."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.62) - Ranked #1 in Mojo's "2005 Dance/Electronic Albums Of The Year"
Mojo (Publisher) (p.101) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[C]louds of Beatle melody mushroom through 'Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up' while the euphoric chant of 'Great Release' is almost ecclesiastical. More proof that cool is what Murphy makes it."