LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening : Album Reviews
In one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2010, LCD Soundsystem have returned with a brand new release This Is Happening, marking eight years since their highly successful debut album. Renowned for their synth rock fused with aspects of a dance, punk, rock and psychedelic nature, this genre blurring New York outfit have created their own brand of distinguishable concept and sound. With front man James Murphy (DFA Records) being the name behind LCD Soundsystem, the expertise behind the construction of the release This Is Happening has more than a strong backing.
Album opener Dance Yrself Clean is a perfect opening, with a mellow sensibility that eases the listener into the record. Reportedly written about Murphy’s open admission of steroid use during previous recordings, this track serves as an anthemic message. While single Drunk Girls is perhaps the most basic in essence of all the album tracks, it makes it that perfect pop offering: short, sweet and incredibly catchy. One Touch continues with the foundation of a dance track, partnered with yet another catchy hook, as well as a touch of distortion and understated vocals from Murphy.
All I Want is a steady rock track with a resounding hook that is destined to remain in your head long after listening, but is not only song which will most likely persuade the listener to hit repeat. I Can Change, with a chorus of “I can change, I can change, if it helps you fall in love”, is a nod to music from the 1980’s, and an enjoyable one at that. With yet another particularly ambitious track, ironically titled, You Wanted A Hit, Murphy channels more of a rock vibe with the opening lyrics, “You wanted a hit? But maybe we don’t do hits. I try and try, it ends up feeling kind of wrong”. Sending a clear message ‘We don’t do hits!’, the track presents as yet another album highlight, with provocative lyrics and a deep sense of realism.
Pow Pow, somewhat surprisingly never feels at all forced or stretched out past its capability, although clocking in past the 8-minute mark. There is some special quality which allows Murphy to keep the tracks sounding incredibly fresh, each track in perfect condition for the dance floor. Quoted by many as the most underperforming album track, Somebody’s Calling Me is still surprisingly, not a complete disappointment – another quality indicative of the mastermind of Murphy, that even a weakness is not wholly a weakness.
Album closer Home continues where the opening track left off, continuing the smooth building track, backed by an ambling drum line. You are reminded that Murphy does have a distinct sounding vocal. Not in the sense that it sounds completely different to anything else in the music industry at present, but however, it does have an underlying quality of creaminess that serves the genre well.
The production of the album is one of the highlights. Allegedly their final release, LCD Soundsystem have presented the fans with a very listenable album. Although it can be repetitive, one can’t help but enjoy it and ride the fresh dance current. There is no doubt this is not the last we are hearing from Murphy, with so much promise still residing in the individual, I think we’ll hear from sooner than you think.