I used to think LCD Soundsystem were just a singles act that didn't want to admit to being one, and that James Murphy wrote great pop songs but always tried to shy away from that fact. However at some point earlier this year the penny just dropped (that's another story for another time), and I'd found that Murphy's pop sensibilities were all present and correct even in his more expansive work.
This album is perhaps a case in point: all but one of the songs here has a lot of focus on build and drawing out the sound, luring you in, then getting you to dance your rear end off. The only song under 5 minutes is lead single Drunk Girls (think White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground). Opener Dance Yrself Clean starts out very quiet with only a very basic beat and yet another refrain that seems to reference Blockbuster by The Sweet, before absolutely freaking out just after the three minute mark with a wonderfully dirty, plinky-plonky wall of electro-noise. It makes for a great opener.
Another factor not to be overlooked are Murphy's lyrics. Some find them verging on self-parody, others don't feel they hold a candle to the melodys and instrumental hooks LCD conjure up, but they can't help but raise a wry smile here: pretty much all of the fifth verse of Drunk Girls, "Complicated people never do what you tell them to" (One Touch), and "The king wears a king hat and lives in a king house" (Pow Pow) all made this listener chuckle.
Having said that, Murphy's ability to emote situations through both his music and lyrics must not be overlooked. I Can Change is brilliant at expression the duality of being in love with someone: being stubborn and insistent about your affection for them ("That's just who I fell in love with") yet being willing to compromise the way you are at the first sign of dissention all because of them. The closing track, Home, is another track I find very emotive - dare I say it's almost up to the standards of New York from Sound of Silver.
This album is overall just a great work, I'd venture you'd get the best out of hearing it from start to finish as opposed to cherry picking the best sounding songs, which I guess has been Murphy's aim all along.
If this is goodbye then it's a mighty fine farewell.