Album Review

LCD Soundsystem, 'This Is Happening'

May 17, 2010

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James Murphy, the man behind the innovative electro-rock outfit LCD Soundsystem, issues a defiant salvo six songs into his band’s new (and supposedly final) album, “This Is Happening.’’ “You wanted a hit,’’ he sings after more than three minutes of ambient chill that evolves into a strong beat, insistent bass line, and handclaps. “But maybe we don’t do hits.’’ The song ends up running nine minutes plus. It’s an old gimmick — the album cut that flips the bird to the record company demanding a snappy Top 40 single — but here it’s doubly ironic, because the disc’s second song is a blatant stab at radio play. “Drunk Girls,’’ with an un-LCD-Soundsystem-like running time of 3:42, is unabashedly silly power-pop-rock — and it’s darned catchy, too. But the songs that take their time developing are the ones that demonstrate Murphy’s talent for building simple beats and riffs into audio addictions. The opener, “Dance Yrself Clean,’’ is a dramatic work, starting calmly and simply (with Murphy speaking his lyrics over blips and clanks) and then churning into a buzzing storm (with Murphy yelling, an octave higher) before subsiding into peacefulness. Agreed: This is happening. (Out tomorrow)


ESSENTIAL “Dance Yrself Clean’’