James Murphy, the man who is LCD, has earned himself a tidy reputation in recent years. As one half of production duo DFA he's produced some of the more trendy bands to come out of New York. The Rapture and Radio 4have both felt the benefit of his disco punk sensibility.
He's probably best known over here for 2002's "Losing My Edge", in which an ageing hipster (Murphy, obviously) rants about his cool muso credentials over an addictive and perversely simple bass line. It couldn't help but make you smile.
And what we have here is 2 CDs of James' own stuff and yes, let's get a little excited over it. He's a generous chap as the second CD sports the Soundsystem's singles so far, including "Losing My Edge", "Yeah" and "Give It Up";top tunes for fine art students to do hoovering to.
This leaves the first CD to live and breathe as an album proper. It's the length of an old vinyl record (45 mins), with 9 tracks on it. There's even a slow track at the end, the VERY Eno-like "Great Release".
And yes, the hip references are all there. Can, The Gang of Four, Prince, The Fall, PiL etc., the cool stuff from the NME hall of fame! Murphy is witty and funny and knows what's good about the music he likes. He doesn't sound cynical, just knowing and aware - and he definitely knows how to play the cow bell.
His lyrics are often more spoken than sung, but his voice has an engaging weediness - sort of nerdy and aggressive at the same time. You can't really sing lines like 'Daft Punk is playing at my house' anyway, though there is a pleasant lyricism to the druggy melancholy (in a late-period Beatles style) of "Never As Tired As When I Wake Up". At one point I even found myself looking for the lyric sheet, but that might be taking things a little too seriously.
So, all in all a toe-tappingly good album and much more engaging than the music he's produced for other people. Pop may have eaten itself, but its s**t can still smell mighty good. --Matt Harvey
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