Tuesday, 25 May 2010

LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening

Released 17 May 2010 (UK) and 18 May 2010 (US), This Is Happening is the third studio album released by Punk/Electronica outfit: LCD Soundsystem. It has also been suggested that this will be the band's final release. 

I have to admit, I wasn't overly familiar with LCD Soundsystem until hearing the Sound of Silver album courtesy of a friend. Aside from this the only real memory I have of them is hearing 'Daft Punk is Playing at My House' on MTV2 at some ungodly hour of the morning as a child. Although it would appear I have missed the building of legends.

From their conception in the early 2000's (or arguably earlier than that in the brain of mastermind James Murphy) they have very quickly gone from an underground band with a significant cult following, to a successful mainstream act with several prestigious music awards under their belt as well as a pretty consistent record of critical acclaim.

It has been two years since the last album (Sound of Silver in 2008) and fans have been waiting with anticipation. It is clear that a lot of love went into the writing and recording process, understandable amidst all the rumours of an imminent split. Murphy has even gone on record practically begging people who managed to get an early leaked copy not to release it: "If you got a copy of the record early and you feel like sharing it with the rest of the world, then please don't ... We spent two years making this record and we want to put it out when we want to put it out. I don't care about money – after it comes out, give it to whoever you want for free but until then, keep it to yourself."

I hate to use the term 'fans of the genre' in a review but, previous LCD Soundsystem albums have required a certain penchant for electronica to get the most out them. There have always been tracks which are easily accessible to a mainstream audience, the aforementioned 'Daft Punk is Playing at My House' being a prime example. However some of the more (for want of a better word) 'hardcore' electronica pieces can be difficult for the casual listener. Fortunately, 'casual' listeners aren't what makes up the majority of their fan base.

'This is Happening' offers an eclectic cross section of influences, all layed out delicately over the backdrop of electronica. From the obvious punk influences of 'Drunk Girls' to the atmospheric drone of 'Somebody's Calling Me', the poetic and sometimes tongue-in-cheek lyrics are simply the icing on an already delicious cake.....probably a gateaux, or a massive cheesecake.....BRB...

On the whole 'This is Happening' is a lot more accessible (although not exactly radio friendly, most tracks on the album ranging from 7-9 minutes), without sacrificing the commendable musicianship and poetic lyrics of the previous productions. It's difficult to find much to criticise in an album which has clearly had such a significant amount of time and work put into it, not to mention the obvious talent that drives the whole project. Were this the final LCD album then it would be a triumphant finale, if not then it will be exciting to see where Murphy takes us next.

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