Wednesday, July 18, 2007

LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver

Grade: A

No one has reviewed this for MFR yet? Seriously? Ever behind the 8 ball, I bought Sound of Silver just last week, and figured I would at least consult my fair colleagues for their opinions on the record. I searched and searched, but no review turned up. I hereby offer my own opinions on the hottest album of 2005.

Just kidding, it came out last spring. It certainly feels, though, like Sound of Silver came out years ago, based on the mountains of hype attached to it. I just read an interview with Britt Daniel, and he happened to mention this record as I was listening to it. His take is essentially mine: “For some reason I never really wanted to hear them. I never listened to the last one. I just thought I wouldn’t like it for some reason, and boy, I was wrong.” I too didn’t think I would like it, if only because “dance” music doesn’t do much for me. I like and respect DJ culture, but I’m such a melody junkie that dance music often lacks the hooks I crave.

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I first heard “North American Scum,” a cheeky piece of catchy pop. I expected more of the same when I bought the record, but imagine my further surprise when I heard some songs that reeked of sincerity and humanity. This describes my favorite songs on the record, such as the gorgeous “Someone Great” and the swirling “All My Friends.” LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy comes across in reviews and interviews as a sassy pop culture enthusiast, but damn if he isn’t actually a singer-songwriter.

Not everything on the record totally works for me, but the entire disc wins me over for being inventive and attentive to subtlety. The subtlety grows over time, too – in the short week that I’ve owned Sound of Silver, songs like “Time To Get Away” and “Get Innocuous!” have crept into my subconscious. These upbeat tracks have a kind of hidden funk that emerges slowly, which probably explains Britt Daniel’s attraction to this record; Spoon’s Prince-like rhythms are close relatives to those of James Murphy.

The best thing about hearing a record like Sound of Silver is the joy of discovery. Not only does Murphy’s 2005 debut now sit in my download queue, I will be first in line for his follow-up. In the meantime, “Someone Great” will be on repeat.

(David Brusie)

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