As half of the DFA production team who first recorded The Rapture, Radio 4, Les Savy Fav and other dance-rock innovators, James Murphy could be called the midwife of the New York underground sound, but as the voice and brains of LCD Soundsystem he’s somehow given people the impression that he’s English. In an attempt to correct this misconception on his second album, he wrote the booty-rattling “North American Scum,” where he purposely takes the low road in his throaty white-soul drawl: “Take us back to America, man, where we can be in any one of a million new bands.”
There is something endearingly generic about Murphy’s disco-fried rock. Though it delivers everything great club music promises, “Sound of Silver” could have only been created by someone who has listened to a lot of mainstream radio. “We set our controls for the heart of the sun,” he enthuses, quoting Pink Floyd as the synthesizers reach warp speed. Never less than the life of the party, Murphy maintains a stainless steel groove behind his rock-philosopher standup routine. In the process he creates the best kind of dance music, the kind that sounds like it was made up on the spot, by real humans. It’s easy to understand why Janet Jackson and Britney Spears were so eager to work with him, and even easier to understand why he didn’t want to work with them.
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