Tuesday, May 4, 2010

CD Review: LCD Soundsystem's "This Is Happening"

Posted By on Tue, May 4, 2010 at 1:24 PM

click to enlarge phptMlgYAPM.jpg

Third albums come with a lot of pressure. They're typically treated as a chance for a rising band to secure its place in the halls of greatness (see Radiohead's OK Computer or The Clash's London Calling). While some acts face the challenge by letting loose with experimentation, others stick to their fan-tested formulas. LCD Soundsytem takes the latter approach on its latest album of post-disco pop tunes, This Is Happening, with varying results.

Band leader James Murphy ushers us slowly into the record with the pattering percussion of "Dance Yrself Clean." Unlike LCD's previous two outings, Happening doesn't deliver a dance beat until three minutes in, and it's a slow-moving one at that. The track feels stuck in an underwhelming mid-tempo limbo, and is followed by what's easily the worst LCD Soundsystem song yet, Happening's first single "Drunk Girls." The track sounds like a contractual obligation to write a "single," its chanted hook coming off as brainless, which isn't Murphy's usual style. From there, things can only move upwards, and they do in classic LCD manner with dancefloor burners "One Touch" and "Pow Pow." Murphy's lighthearted side is also evidenced in full by "All I Want" and "Change," which show him getting sappy and melodic while singing about pursuing love and a fulfilling life.

This Is Happening has its lyrical and musical ups and downs, much like the albums that came before it. In fact, one could draw parallels with almost every song in the new tracklist and those of LCD Soundsystem's past records. The way Murphy arranged the instrumentation of "Drunk Girls" is painfully similar to his past singles "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" and "North American Scum." "All I Want" trades out the endless piano loop of "All My Friends" for a guitar riff, and "Pow Pow"--with its deadpan, nonsensical rant--might as well be called "Losing My Edge Part 2."

Despite the blatant similarities, though, most of the music is still inherently likeable. The 'stick it to the man' anthem of "You Wanted a Hit" and the hopeful album closer "Home" show Murphy introducing fresh themes and styles to his standard palette of snarky party music and poignant ballads. This Is Happening won't move LCD Soundsystem into the halls of greatness, but it won't drag them out of the doorway either.

Follow us @SFAllShookDown.

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

About The Author

Patric Fallon


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.
  • Comic Con 2014

    Comic book enthusiasts, Cosplayers, TV and movie fans, and celebrities descended to sunny San Diego for the annual gathering at Comic-Con International.

    Whether hitting up a panel to check out The Simpson's announcement of a cross over with Family Guy or Futurama. Or hearing a new movie with Sam Raimie based on a video game or accidentally rubbing shoulders with Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) in cosplay, being a cosplayer, San Diego Comic-Con is the place to be. Photographs by Christopher Victorio