Under Review

LCD Soundsystem

Sound Of Silver

DFA

Review By Pádraig Watson


James Murphy, the man whose toiling effectively fashioned the genre that has been coined dance punk, is enigmatically influential. Counter-intuitiveness seems to be his secret to success. LCD Soundsystem’s first album gem “Losing My Edge,” a song about Murphy’s fading hipsterdom, became a ferociously prevalent song despite being about lost prevalence. The track could be the thesis statement for the dissertation that is Sound of Silver, an album willed on by Murphy’s lost youth. On “Losing My Edge,” among other quips, Murphy proclaims “[he] was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids.” Sound of Silver seems to usher back to rock a scene that has become dance-oriented.
The album feels more explicitly derived from influences than earlier LCD Soundsystem, and is more interesting due to immense displays of emotion (rather than a focus on achieving a new sound). The trademark repetition is still evident, but Sound of Silver is lyrically more pungent. Coming off of an odd undertaking, 45:33, a workout record Murphy made for Nike and Apple that was largely instrumental, the sentiment is all the more astounding. “Someone Great” best exemplifies the shift to greater meaning both on this album and career-wise, and is perhaps the most exceptional track on Sound of Silver. Once again the focus is vanished youth, but this time the gate swings open for poignant subject matter on the rest of the album.
Murphy defies conventions indiscriminately. The album is at times political yet uncontroversial, which isn’t just counter-intuitive—it’s downright oxymoronic. Sound of Silver is compelling and listenable dance music, which is contradictory itself, but with LCD Soundsystem that seems right, and so soon enough it will probably be standard. Which means Murphy is going to have to mix things up, which suitably is what he does best.