Let's get one thing straight. Mr. James Murphy must have a good lawyer.
Turmoil reigns in the Incendiary offices. I have just put the phone down on Damian, who has the effrontery to tell me that the new Rufus Wainwright album is better than the album I am in the process of reviewing. The argument has been going on for some time now and there is no sign of either of us relenting. (Just for the record, please note that I am right. He's not).
Let's get one thing straight. Mr. James Murphy must have a good lawyer. For LCD Soundsystem is a very derivative record. Quite what Eno, Smith, Hutter and Rodelius are thinking when they hear this is anybody's guess. In this particular case, however, I can readily forgive this because the musical references are so sharp, and what's more, lovingly re-worked into a new, (dare I say up to date?) form. Here are some examples, (to show how sharp I am). "Tribulations" takes a riff Cluster used on Zuckerzeit, punking it up into a muscular, glossy dance track. "Disco Infiltrator" blatantly takes the bubbly synth refrain from Kraftwerk's Home Computer and creates a catty, salty and very funny funkathon. "Movement" could be off Dragnet; right down to the Mark E Smith inflections (yes, honestly, that famous "-uh" is in evidence). And what about "Great Release"? Let's just say side two of Eno's "Before and After Science" springs to mind, or maybe "Some Far Away Beach"... I could go on but I think you get the picture.
Having said all that, what is wildly exciting and very endearing about LCD Soundsystem's debut is the formidable clarity of vision that majestically overrides all the multiple reference points. This album feels very much like one man's musical manifesto. I could get pretentious and say that Mr Murphy seems to be following TS Eliot's dictum that an artist should always draw creatively on the glories created by previous practitioners in their field. And I could be crediting Mr Murphy with rather too much here, but in my eyes, he has succeeded brilliantly in this artistic quest. Dazzling, and already a contender for album of the year.
Words: Richard Foster
P.S. Get the two CD set whilst you can, for CD two contains the fantastic "Losing My Edge", possibly the greatest put down of musical pretentions ever recorded, (honest).