LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem

[DFA/Capitol; 2005]

Styles: retro, electro, post punk
Others: The Fall, New Order, Daft Punk, Out Hud


Around this time last year, someone on a music web board was talking about the forthcoming Icarus Line album,  The Penance Soiree. He asked if it was strange that he felt like he was listening to the album of the year for 2004 as early as mid-January. With file-sharing networks, the idea that a record is only heard after its official release date is of course laughable, yet it still feels weird to think that, here in January 2005, the self-titled debut by LCD Soundsystem will be the best album of the year.

I liked those early singles. You remember "Losing My Edge," with the shout-outs to all of our favorite underground bands. Lyrics like "The Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978" really said it all, didn't it? The irony was overwhelming, but for some reason it worked. It was retro, electro, old, and somehow completely new at the same time. I knew LCD's James Murphy was a talented motherfucker, but nothing would prepare me for how good the full-length would be.

And that's what I'm doing here, playing this album over and over again since I got it weeks ago. I'm not supposed to like this. Surely, it borrows too much from the past to be original. It will inevitably fan the flames of more '80s revivalists. Yet somehow, something this blatantly crass and in your face comes off as absolutely brilliant.

Even the track order is perfect. Start off with an ironic party anthem that loosens up the listener and sets the tone for the album ("Daft Punk is playing at my House"). Slow things down on track two with something chill but still subtly keeps the energy going ("Too Much Love"). On track three, give the listener something so direct they'll either love the album completely or quit while they're ahead, preferably with New Order-esque synths ("Tribulations"). By track four, let people know where you came from; feel free to make inadvertent nods to The Fall ("Movement"). And so on.

The latter half of LCD Soundsystem slows things down a bit with the Beatles-inspired clunker "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up" and the slightly annoying "On Repeat." But Murphy ends strong with the electro-heavy "Disco Infiltrator" and Eno-esque closer, "Great Release." And if that wasn't enough, the album comes packed with a bonus CD of all the previously released singles.

In the same way that Trail of Dead's Source Tags and Codes was an homage to Sonic Youth and other '80s underground favorites, LCD Soundsystem is also a tribute of sorts. To all of the great electronic and alternative artists that are finally getting their due (The Fall, Can, This Heat, Brian Eno, etc), this album is a direct product of their contributions. Only the very best can pay tribute without coming off as total poseurs. James Murphy has paid his dues for years and played an important role in bringing his musical heroes back into the popular consciousness. And while LCD Soundsystem is grounded in the past, quality and talent make it an album deserving to be listened to for years to come. Talk to me in a few months, but I think this one won't be beat.

1. Daft Punk Is Playing at My House
2. Too Much Love
3. Tribulations
4. Movement
5. Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up
6. On Repeat Goldsworthy
7. Thrills
8. Disco Infiltrator
9. Great Release

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