Sound of Silver

Sound of Silver

4.8 5
by LCD Soundsystem
     
 

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The first thing you hear on LCD Soundsystem's second album is something old -- the tinny drum machine pattern first used on their 2002 debut single, "Losing My Edge" -- but it's not because frontman James Murphy has run out of ideas. He's just displaying his wicked sense of humor, an aspect that, when paired with his knowing nods to the past, renders Sounds of

Overview

The first thing you hear on LCD Soundsystem's second album is something old -- the tinny drum machine pattern first used on their 2002 debut single, "Losing My Edge" -- but it's not because frontman James Murphy has run out of ideas. He's just displaying his wicked sense of humor, an aspect that, when paired with his knowing nods to the past, renders Sounds of Silver a disc that's as clever as it is infectious. That opening song, "Get Innocuous," quickly takes off in a new direction that reveals Murphy's latest bag of tricks; its layered instrumentation, polyrhythmic drumming, and dense harmonies suggest Brian Eno's late-'70s production work, so that the track comes off like a mash-up of Heroes and Remain in Light. Elsewhere, the anthemic "Us vs. Them" owes more than a little to Talking Heads' "I Zimbra." Yet Murphy is in such command it never feels like a rip-off. While Murphy's wit is on full display, the only moment here that revives the snarky party vibe of the first album is "North American Scum," which lifts its riff from Pete Shelley's "Homosapien" and casts Murphy as a Yank set loose in European countries where "the buildings are old and you might find lots of mimes." Sounds of Silver is not all arched eyebrows, however. The two best songs find Murphy in a somber mood: "All My Friends," with its insistent piano riff and New Order guitar, remembers more carefree days, while "Someone Great" is a eulogy set to a pulsing synth bass and icy keyboards. Despite these introspective moments, LCD Soundsystem are still primarily here to make you dance, peppering songs with such party favors as cowbell, bongos, and the world's funkiest instrument, the clavinet. Murphy is just a little more serious about it this time out.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
Compared to the first LCD Soundsystem album, Sound of Silver is less silly, funnier, less messy, sleeker, less rowdy, more fun, less distanced, more touching. It is just as linked to James Murphy's record collection, with traces of post-punk, disco, Krautrock, and singer/songwriter schlubs, but the references are evidently harder to pin down; the number of names dropped in the reviews published before its release must triple the amount mentioned throughout "Losing My Edge." There's even some confusion as to which version of David Bowie is lurking around. One clearly evident aspect of the album is that Murphy has streamlined his sound. All the jagged frays have been removed, replaced by a slightly tidier approach that is more direct and packs more punch. Murphy comes across as a fully naturalized producer of dance music -- especially on "Get Innocuous!" -- as opposed to a product of '90s indie rock who has made a convincing switch-up. And yet, the album's best song is sad, should not be played in any club, and it at least matches the work of any active songwriter who has been praised. "Someone Great," a bittersweet pop song built on swelling synthesizers and a dual vocal-and-glockenspiel melody, could definitely be about a devastating breakup ("To tell the truth I saw it coming/The way you were breathing"), at least until "You're smaller than my wife imagined/Surprised you were human," which could mean the song either took a turn for the absurd or is about the death (and funeral) of a loved one. Either way, it is the most moving song Murphy has made, and it only helps further the notion that he should be considered a great songwriter, not simply a skilled musician with a few studio tricks and the occasional clever quip. The closer, "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," seals it: "New York, you're perfect, oh please don't change a thing/Your mild billionaire mayor's now convinced he's a king/And so the boring collect -- I mean all disrespect/In the neighborhood bars I'd once dreamt I would drink." If he keeps it up, he'll be writing songs for Pixar by 2020.
Entertainment Weekly - Jason Adams
[Grade: A-] Murphy's best song-making efforts to date.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/02/2007
Label:
Dfa Records
UPC:
0829732216417
catalogNumber:
2164
Rank:
8122

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

LCD Soundsystem   Primary Artist
Lorenza Ponce   Violin
Jane Scarpantoni   Cello
Justin Chearno   Guitar
Jane Scrapantoni   Cello
Tyler Pope   Bass,Guitar,Hand Clapping
David Gold   Viola
Nancy Whang   Vocals
James Murphy   Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Glockenspiel,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Clavinet,Hand Clapping,electronic percussion,Casio
Eric Broucek   Vocals,Hand Clapping
Marcus Lambkin   Hand Clapping
Morgan Wiley   Piano
Pat Mahoney   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Amy Kimball   Violin

Technical Credits

DFA   Producer,Audio Production
James Murphy   Programming
Mike Vadino   Art Direction
Keith Wood   Management

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