Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Album Review: LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

In these days of 13 or 14 track albums it’s a relief to see that 2010’s LCD Soundsystem has only 9 tracks, albeit lengthy ones. So how would James Murphy follow up Sound of Silver?

Well he hasn’t done anything too different in the main, though opening track Dance Yrself Clean is a brave opener. The instrumentation is very muted for the first 2 or 3 minutes till it mutates into an electro dance track. I would say interesting rather than hugely successful.

Drunk Girls has a whiff of David Bowie off it, as do several tracks on this album. In this case it’s Boys Keep Swinging. It’s a little repetitive and juvenile, just like the Bowie song! This track though is a real case of spot the influence, with Velvet Underground’s White Light White Heat very pervasive, along with a little Talking Heads and Blur thrown in.

One Touch is more of a dancefloor type track, though very 2010 sounding, until the Bowie influence returns on All I Want, which takes the same treated electric guitar from Heroes and channels it through the song. I Can Change is a hedonistic sounding dance song, a real electro stomper with hints of Kraftwerk, and it’s bloody marvellous.

Murphy’s lyrics are often worth listening to, and this album is no different, notably on the Japan-influenced You Wanted A Hit (“you wanted a hit - but maybe we don’t do hits”). After Pow Pow, akin to Watch The Tapes from his last album, Somebody’s Calling Me takes the Bowie theme and gives it a twist, this track dragging itself along in the exact same manner as Iggy Pop’s Bowie-produced Nightclubbing. He finishes off back on home ground with the typically LCD sounding Home.

Bored with all the references? Despite all the similarities to other artists, the album is actually really enjoyable. James Murphy has said this would be his last album as LCD Soundsystem and if so, he exits proudly through the front door.