LCD Soundsystem’s acclaimed, Grammy-nominated electro-rock double-album, Sound Of Silver, was released in 2007 by the influential post-punk revival label DFA. The follow-up to the group’s self-titled 2005 debut album, it gave James Murphy and co a chance to focus on creating a record intended as a body of work in and of itself, as opposed to the collection of scattered singles that had made up its predecessor.
Listen to ‘Sound Of Silver’ here.
Years ahead of the curve
Featuring their raison d’être-defining calling card, Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, LCD Soundsystem’s debut had gone some way towards redressing the balance of a US guitar-band scene that had been slow to take influences from dance music fully to its heart. The UK had already seen a couple of waves of such bands since the 80s, but here was a stateside group taking elements from electronica and combining them with indie-style songwriting – often focusing on endless parties wearing thin with age, but nevertheless pulling you back in.
LCD Soundsystem also had a different take on the music business: years ahead of the curve, the band streamed the entirety of Sound Of Silver for free via the then dominant musicians’ platform MySpace. Released on 12 March 2007, the album also received extensive download sales, and sailed to the top of Billboard’s dance chart.
“Songs with heart and soul”
Sound Of Silver opens as it means to go on, with the electronic drums of the shuffly Get Innocuous!, whose rising riff acknowledges a debt to Kraftwerk’s 1978 single The Robots, while Murphy’s vocals come in part from Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley’s playbook. The song was also treated to a long, chunky Soulwax remix, starting straight in with the Kraftwerk hook and bringing the vocals of Murphy’s singing partner, Nancy Whang, to the fore. The funky release of the slightly bitter breakup song Time To Get Away follows. A complementary, if slightly sparser, remix from Gucci Soundsystem was also worked up for one of the album’s B-sides.
Lifted as Sound Of Silver’s lead single, the ultimate apologetic hipster anthem, North American Scum, punctured the UK Top 40 with its self-effacing humour. Bolstered with handclaps from Marcus Lambkin, aka another DFA act, Shit Robot, the song also found James Murphy unleashing a falsetto The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins would have been proud of. As befitting the single’s video, its remixes included a spacey retool from Kris Menace, while LCD Soundsystem themselves provided a gritty, wildly acidic dub. When the group disbanded, in 2011, Arcade Fire joined them onstage for a celebratory live rendition of the song, completing the circle of US indie-rock royalty.