Spun: LCD Soundsystem

Dance music isn’t known for being too concerned with maturity. After all, its primary concern is to get people up and shaking, not contemplating the passage of time. Sound of Silver, the new album by LCD Soundsystem, however, is a grown-up affair, but that’s not to say it’s light on the ass-shaking.

This maturity is first evident in the music itself. Frontman James Murphy has never shied away from wearing his influences on his sleeve. This reverence for what came before him led LCD’s self-titled debut to sound a tad stuck in the past. Murphy rights this in Sound of Silver by allowing more of himself to take centre stage. The normal reference points are still here, but they’re now used as guidelines instead of maps. The result is a cohesive dance-rock album both comfortably familiar and satisfyingly original.

Murphy’s lyrics have also grown up a good deal since the first album. Though lyrics inevitably take a backseat to grooves in dance, Murphy used to take this to ridiculous extremes. On Sound of Silver he actually has something to say, and it’s usually about the struggle to stay young while growing old. Fortunately, Murphy augments his newfound lyrical focus with another new skill: singing. Instead of the idiosyncratic yelp that populated the band’s debut, Murphy adopts a variety of vocal ticks with surprising success.

All this maturity could have had terrible effects on a band who made their mark as partiers. Somehow, though, Murphy and his cohorts manage to age gracefully. The youthful joy of creating is still there, it’s just countered by a gravity few would have thought possible, making Sound of Silver no small triumph.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.