Of all the current dance-rock acts, LCD Soundsystem generates grooves that are the most simultaneously disco and punk. On the nine-track sequel to 2005’s double-disc debut, one-man band James Murphy (of production/remixing duo DFA) relies not on sequencers or samples, but on his own propulsive drums, walking bass lines, scratchy guitar figures, and clattering percussion, all of which lurch and accelerate with the momentum of an often hardened but always human heart.
There’s nothing on Sound of Silver as overtly soulful as the Paradise Garageworshipping opening segment of 45:33, Murphy’s Nike-commissioned iTunes workout opus. He’s genuinely singing here, and although he’s traded most of the Mark E. Smithinfluenced over-enunciation that graced early LCD singles like “Losing My Edge” for a no-less-showy glam croon (check the Bowie-esque harmony vocals of “Get Innocuous”), he’s by no means stopped rocking.
“All My Friends” builds a ridiculously repetitive riff out of one overextended chord until what’s initially annoying becomes anthemic. The scene-stealing “North American Scum” creates tension with Murphy’s observant verses, then releases it through wiggy choruses, while closing cut “New York I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down” starts out as a piano-led cabaret tune and ends up as a Ziggy Stardust power ballad decrying his hometown’s cops and tidy makeover. Over and over, these songs reveal how a wisecracking record geek can still achieve rapture.
On SPIN.com: LCD Soundsystem Artist of the Day