Their self-titled album was one of the very best records of 2005, and with the follow-up, Sound Of Silver, James Murphy has delivered another absolute cracker.
For consistency, innovation and sheer hip-shaking brilliance, the accolade of producers of the noughties so far is a two-way split between The Neptunes and DFA. The former have been responsible for a string of magnificent pop singles, including Snoop Dogg’s ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Signs’, Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’, JT’s ‘Rock Your Body’ and Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’, amongst many others. Anyone unfamiliar with DFA’s innovations in the field of dance/rock, meanwhile, is urged to seek out the DFA Compilations 1&2 post haste.
Of course, the “side project” – if one can call it that – of James Murphy (one half of the DFA alongside Tim Goldsworthy), LCD Soundsystem, isn’t half bad either. Their self-titled album was one of the very best records of 2005, and with the follow-up, Sound Of Silver, Murphy has delivered another absolute cracker. It may only be February, but already I can guarantee you that this album is going to make all the “best of the year” lists come December.
The most extraordinary aspect of the album is that Murphy has managed to simultaneously make his music both more experimental and more thrillingly danceable. The opening track, ‘Get Innocuous’, is a perfect case in point, featuring as it does strange, treated vocals over repetitive synths, hypnotic effects and electrifying beats. The following ‘Time To Get Away’ is another exceptional dance work-out with a funky bassline and intermittent Prince-like vocal harmonies, while ‘North American Scum’ is distinguished by its driving rhythms, scratchy guitars and a wickedly funny lyric.
Interestingly, Murphy has added a few new tricks to his sonic repertoire. An excerpt from ’45.33’, a tune commissioned by Nike (who, confoundingly, have in recent years emerged as modern-day Medicis to boundary-pushing artists like Murphy, Terry Gilliam, Spike Lee and David Fincher), ‘Someone Great’ is a heady brew of throbbing rhythms, electro bleeps, dreamy xylophone and trippy vocals. ‘All My Friends’, meanwhile, is perhaps the most ambitious track Murphy has attempted to date, as over house piano and rapid-fire beats, he relates a tale of dazed and confused urban youth.
After the Neu!-like motorik groove of ‘Us Vs Them’ and the epic title track, Murphy rounds out the collection with the piano-ballad ‘New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’, which is reminiscent of Bowie’s ‘Drive In Saturday’ and could conceivably have played over the closing credits of Manhattan. Rest easy, folks – on the evidence of Sound Of Silver, James Murphy is most assuredly not losing his edge.
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