LCD Soundsystem | Sound of Silver (DFA)

silverMany Sound of Silver songs have strong lyrical content, which is pretty impressive for a dance-punk album, and an improvement from the debut – though don't expect poetry.

 

 

 

 

Silver makes a sound of exciting, danceable drumbeats, catchy synthesized piano loops, and cool, reminiscent phrases – or at least it does according to James Murphy, who has titled LCD Soundsystem's second official LP release Sound of Silver. The new material from Murphy is more impressive than the Grammy-nominated self-titled album of ‘05; however, no one track matches up with "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House."

Murphy has two types of singing voices: one a more natural speaking voice, preaching over the music, and the other (not as cool) a more Interpol-esque voice that makes him sound like a robot on an intercom. The album starts with the intercom voice, and while "Get Innocuous" is one of the songs I skip most often, it sets the pace for the entire 55:57. By track 2, "Time to Get Away," LCD is getting warmer. The album really takes off with the single, "North American Scum."

Many Sound of Silver songs have strong lyrical content, which is pretty impressive for a dance-punk album, and an improvement from the debut – though don't expect poetry. In "North American Scum," Murphy celebrates his U.S. citizenship, calling his hometown of New York the "furthest you can live from the government." He exhorts alternative youth to "Throw a party till the cops come in and bust it up/ Let's go North Americans/ Oh you were planning it I didn't mean to interrupt/ Sorry/ I did it once and my parents got pretty upset/ Freaked out in North America/ But then I said the more I do it the better it gets."

"Someone Great" and "All My Friends" make up the meat of the album and are the must-hears. James Murphy refrains from the in-your-face style and cranks out these two reflective cuts. "Someone Great" contains some of the deepest songwriting Murphy has done, comparable to that of a true singer/songwriter. The track deals with the confusing feelings that learning of death brings:

I wake up and the phone is ringing,
Surprised, as it's early.
And that should be the perfect warning,
That something's, a problem.
To tell the truth I saw it coming,
The way, you were breathing.
But nothing can prepare you for it,
The voice, on the other, end.

He feels saddened, yet the coffee tastes normal, it's not raining, and there are still things to get done. This degree of realism is refreshing. Murphy really nails this death scene, describing the helpless silence after a loss. Yet, the song is at the same time uplifting, demonstrating that after the initial grief, things keep moving along; in his case, there are "songs, to be finished."

"All My Friends" demonstrates another leap in lyricism. This seems more like a journal entry, not really following a storyline, and certainly not in his usual slogan-heavy style. Throughout the song, the guy is constantly calculating his decisions in life, grouping his past into intervals of "starts," "parts," and "five years," as segments within "the plan." The song's forceful piano never relents, and the chorus is a reminder to the song's character to see the present: "But where are your friends tonight?"

"Watch the Tapes" has all the characteristics of a good LCD Soundsystem song and will be fun live. This track has obviously been carefully put together, but it sounds most like a variation of Murphy's other popular work. On the newest Strokes album, Julian Casablancas is clearly ripping off his own successful lyricism from previous albums. Despite how tempting a proven method is, the true fans will see through any shortcuts, and demand new ways to excite. LCD has shown its ability to shake it up with "Someone Great" and "All My Friends." The Hold Steady saw this benefit of shifting gears instead of trying to duplicate "Little Hoodrat Friend" 12 times.

The closer, "New York I Love You," is strange and intriguing. A faint piano accompanies the waltz-y pace at which Murphy sings. In this song New York is now safer, cleaner, and rid of crime. This greatly disappoints Murphy, making him plead, "Please don't change a thing," and feel sorry "for kids that think it still exists."

Live, the band is an impressive five-piece with a lineup that includes Al Doyle of Hot Chip. The band has a full schedule this March, will play Coachella April 28, and is booked through mid-May. These nine songs make up a very convincing album and will certainly add depth to their gigs. B | Joseph O'Fallon

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