DFA Records – 2005 – 47 minutes
When Moby became a superstar in the wake of the 'Play' album, everybody thought he was a unique creature. However, James Murphy's new solo project LCD Soundsystem shows the diminutive vegan is not the only former punk rocker to try his hand at becoming a modern day one man band.
On curiously titled opener 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House', the album crashes into being with funky bass guitar and thumping drums. Seemingly, the title refers to a genuine aspiration of Murphy's to get the French electro punksters to play in somebody's garage, with LCD Soundsystem as the opening act.
'Too Much Love' and 'Tribulations', meanwhile, sound like ghosts of 1980s synth pop brought back to life. Insistent percussion returns on 'Movement', which is a passionate rant by Murphy against what he calls the "new rock" movement, as led by The Strokes and followed by many other 'The...' bands. "It's like a culture/without the effort of all the culture," he moans.
The short album takes a mid-point breather with excellent slow song 'Never As Tired As When I'm Walking Up', which sounds remarkably like 'The White Album'-era Beatles. In case you're wondering, it's got the exact same chord sequence as the Liverpool quartet's 'Dear Prudence'.
Proceedings head back to funkland with 'On Repeat' and 'Thrills', which like much of the album show off Murphy's considerable studio talents from his years as a sound engineer for US punk bands. Where major label talents can often come off as being overproduced, this punk veteran knows exactly which buttons to press and when.
Murphy veers into Prince territory with 'Disco Infiltrator', which has the same sonic innovation and funky vocals that the artist currently known as whatever has made a career out of.
The album proper ends sooner than expected with come down track 'Great Release'. Guitars and drums take a back seat as lead piano and some drum programming provide the backing for plaintive lyrics and a distinctive 5am feel.
However, LCD Soundsystem's debut also comes packaged with a 7-track bonus disc that is not to be ignored for it features some previously released gems including what is the highlight of the whole record, 'Losing My Edge'.
The song is a cry for reassurance from a DJ in his mid-30s who is made to feel inadequate by fresher talents, but is also something music nerds of all kinds will relate to. "I was the first to play Daft Punk to the rock kids... Everybody thought I was crazy", he protests, and later "I used to work in a record store/I had everything before everybody". Like the album itself, James Murphy tries here to come off as being too cool to be cool, and it works.
Tracklisting: Disc One: Daft Punk Is Playing At My House - Too Much Love - Tribulations - Movement - Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up - On Repeat - Thrills - Disco Infiltrator - Great Release
Tracklisting: Disc Two: Losing My Edge - Beat Connection - Give It Up - Tired - Yeah (Crass Version) - Yeah (Pretentious Version) - Yr City's A Sucker