I have too much love for James Murphy, the man behind LCD Soundsystem. This guy sits atop a throne of excellence, which sits atop a black mountain of cracked vinyl, which sits atop the sweaty corpses of the over-danced. You'd think that being named one of the coolest people on the planet would render a man intolerably arrogant - but then again, maybe not. Because if you're one the coolest people the planet, you don't let anything get to your head. Nope, you just sit back and chalk up a record full of songs along the same vein as your previous ones, and they rock just as hard. So, friends, Romans, jaded critics, poseur indie-lectuals, stiff suits, countrymen, lend Mr. Murphy your ears, and your ass while you're at it.
The party starts immediately with "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House," an amazingly addictive opener with enough thump, buzz and cowbell for it to be licensed as illegal and snorted at by Hollywood execs. And the bass, oh the bass! Tyler Pope (prolific bassist for both Out Hud and !!!) impregnates this song with the simplest yet funkiest groove this side of the tropic. And let's not forget Murphy's vocal stylings; he ends each line with a delectable lick of ultra-hip upper inflection. Those that say nothing on this album truly matches up to previously released singles have got their head up their ass, and a really good Yoga instructor. One could listen to this CD on repeat all day long.
But perhaps we should take a step down from what has been a stream of praise thus far. "Too Much Love" is a terrible choice for a single, not a very amazing song overall, and its impact is especially lessened due to it being sandwiched between "Daft Punk" and the superbly thump-a-delic "Tribulations," which should have taken its place as lead-single. Also, The Fall-influenced "Movement" is somewhat misplaced amongst an album of discopunk, and although that doesn't lessen the songs kick-ass quality, it does kill the mood. But alas, who are we to qualm, the doubting Thomases that we are! Because nothing could have prepared us for the hazy, slow-gliding and Beatles-infected comedown of "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up," which proves Murphy has a voice on him beyond acerbic spoken word and discotheque shouts. It's sweetly naive ("When I was a little boy/I laid down in the grass"), psychedelic, and ultimately perfect.
So where to go from there? "Thrills" is where. The raging fuzz and stone-crushing bass whirl in a sonic blister around Murphy's robotic vocals, which are so deadpan you wonder if there's an inherent contradiction in the title of the song. But when the cymbals start to crash and the fuzz blasts repeatedly inside your skull, the point is made. "Disco Infiltrator" bubbles and coalesces around a simple rhythm section and cocksure vocals, and is ever relentless in its danceable drive, even when intercepted by a drifting chorus, as Murphy sings an honest "Bear in mind, we all fall behind, from time to time." Album closer (and another very un-LCD track) "Great Release" descends from the peak of Eno's Tiger Mountain and reminds us of the great influences at hand in the songs of the Soundsystem.
Of course, one CD just wouldn't be enough. A bonus disc comprised of every single, remix, and b-side released so far comes along with the main LP. We've all heard these, we all love them, and the mind-blowing climax of "Yeah (Crass Version)" is still the most staggering and thrilling dance song ever. So, overall, you have two fine releases in one neat package, and it's the new album to play at parties. If it doesn't get your social circle moving, then I urge you to find a new one, because hanging out with zombies is NOT cool, unless of course you're Bruce Campbell, in which case, proceed.
8.6 / 10
Posted April 7, 2017, 2:42 p.m.
Pitchfork Music Festival returns again for another year to Chicago’s Union Park, Friday July 14 to Sunday July 16. Headliners include LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest and Solange ...
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