LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening – the G Review

Posted by The G on April 15, 2010 under G Reviews | 13 Comments to Read

Photo by G.

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem

When LCD Soundsystem front-man James Murphy literally got on his knees and begged the sold out crowd at Webster Hall  not to bootleg their new album  This is Happening,  he must have had a premonition that the album would leak a few hours later.  The album doesn’t get released until May 18, 2010, but when I saw that the album had leaked, I got out my bucket and… At any rate, here’s my review of “This is Happening.”

Dance Yrself Clean.  As the opening track started, I was immediately bored. I waited a minute as you can’t really judge a song until it gets going and I am glad I waited.  At the 3:11 mark in the song, Dance Yrself Clean  transformed from a pretty boring track to a sound-a-like dance version of Cold War Kids’ “Hang Me Out To Dry.”  Once it picks up the pace, it doesn’t relent for the rest of the song.  As the song clocks in at 8:58, you get a lot of bang for your dance buck.

Drunk Girls. The first single and the shortest track on the album.  The other night when LCD Soundsystem played this song live, the crowd totally freaked out in one of the many moments of the show where the entire place was vibrating.  This track has post-punk influences and is sure to be a party classic. Though the lyrics are not Shakespeare, it concerns itself with drunk girls “being just as insane” as drunk boys.

One Touch. This is another stand out track on the album.  From the second the song starts, it’s designed to make you get your groove on.  The vocal delivery reminds me of Information Society.  The lyrics are quite repetitive, but when they shout out “One touch is never enough,” you’re sure to be throwing your hands in the air.  The track starts to wind down at the 6:27 mark, but does not end for another full minute.

All I Want.  This is electro-meets-alternative.  The track has a pretty good beat, but the screeching guitars make it a little bit annoying.  This one won’t be getting much air time with me.  It’s unfortunate because right at the end of the song, at the 6:35 mark, there’s a very cute and very brief piano solo.

I Can Change. This song sounds to me a little bit like “Love Is A Stranger” by Eurythmics.  According2g, that’s a good thing.  This track is definitely my favorite off the record.  James Murphy uses a little bit of falsetto for a nice touch.  The lyric I like the best in the song is “Love is a curse / shoved in a hearse / Love is an open book to a verse / of your bad poetry / and this is coming from me.” The song is 5:54 and you’re going to want to put aside some 6 minute blocks of time to listen to this track over and over again.

You Wanted A Hit.  This is another track that takes a few minutes to get going (2 minutes and 12 seconds to be exact) and clocking in at a very long 9:12, that’s a tad too long, according2g.  The vocals remind me of “Just What I Needed” by The Cars, but with a lot less conviction.

Pow Pow.  They opened with this song in concert and I recall not caring much for their live rendition, but I was definitely opened to hearing the studio version.  I am sad to report that the live and studio versions pretty much have the same flavor.  The lyrics are spoken, and aside from a jab at writer Michael Musto, there is not much ‘pow’ in this track.  The song is 8 minutes and 25 seconds long.

Somebody’s Calling Me.  This is a slow track with almost whispered vocals.  Aside from a little bit of organ action during the chorus, the song pretty much stays the same for the entire 6:55 duration.

Home.  The final track is a late night club-thumper. Luckily the track has a good beat because a lot of the lyrics don’t rhyme and they sound pretty awkward.  I think this song will grow on me after a few listens, but it definitely seems to fit on a very uneven album.  The song is 8 minutes long, so perhaps the band might be able to make some use of an editor on their next album to shape these tracks into pop perfection.

The problem I tend to find with LCD Soundsystem is that they are fully capable of hitting it out of the park, but on those tracks when they do not, they seem to strike out miserably.  On a scale of A to G, “This is Happening” gets a C.

MGMT – Congratulations – The G Review

Posted by The G on March 20, 2010 under G Reviews | 8 Comments to Read

Photo by G.

Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT

MGMT‘s second album, Congratulations, is not scheduled for release until April 13, 2010 but thanks to a special friend, I received a review copy.  The album is definitely a departure from their classic debut, Oracular Spectacular.  Part of me feels like this will be career suicide for the band in the same way that Terence Trent D’arby committed it in the 80s by releasing a radio friendly debut album and then a sophomore “artsty fartsy” record, but I’ve found Congratulations to be an enjoyable listen.  If you liked the 13 minute B-side “Metanoia” that goes through multiple genre changes, you’ll probably like the new album.

The album kicks off with “It’s Working,” a 4 minute surf-pop-psychedelic experience.  They ask “how will I know if it’s working?” which seems like they are posing the question to their fans – “did we totally screw up by changing our sound dramatically?”

Song For Dan Tracey” is another surf-pop track complete with echoed vocals and sonic organs.  Like the opener, the track is basically hook-free.

Someone’s Missing” is a short 2 and a half minute track that is pretty mellow.  Towards the end of the song, it finally builds to a sing-a-long refrain of “It feels like someone’s missing,” but fades out right as the song starts to get good.

Flash Delirium,” was given away as a free mp3 on MGMT’s website earlier this month and it’s spacey with multiple theme changes in the 4 minute song.  It’s another surf-rock track that has a great climax at the end as the mid-tempo track gets really fast.  As is the case with a lot of the tracks on the album, it’s another hook free track.

I Found A Whistle”  is reminiscent of “Someone’s Missing” as it’s pretty mellow all the way throughout the song and builds to a climax towards the end of the song right before it’s over.  The track clocks in at 3 minutes and 40 seconds.

Siberian Breaks” is a 12 minute song that is definitely the centerpiece of the album.  It recalls their b-side “Metanoia” as there are multiple genre changes in the epic track.  Several times I thought a new song was beginning, but instead it was just an MGMT change.  I’ve counted no less than 4 changes to the track and each piece could probably stand on its own.  The song ends with a 2 minute instrumental outro that has a progressive rock feel to it.

Brian Eno” is MGMT’s tribute to the music god from the band Roxy Music.  The track is fast and they rhyme “what does he know” with “Brian Eno” and “you reap what you sow” with “Brian Eno.”  As with the rest of the album, it’s a psychedelic-surf tinged track. “Brian Eno” has a mellow breakdown in the middle and gets fast by the end of the song.

Lady Dada’s Nightmare” is a spacey 4 and a half minute instrumental, which gets my vote for worst track on the album.  It’s not bad for a listen every now and then, but it will not be a song you will want to hear repeatedly.

Congratulations,” the title track, is a mellow acoustic-pop track that reminds me of  “The Handshake” off their first album.  They rhyme “cauldron” with “baldwin” in this track, so clearly they will not be winning any lyric writing awards with this song.  Though the track is very laid back and slow, I think this might be my favorite track on the album.  The song ends with a smattering of light applause, as if they are aware they are going to alienate fans who are expecting the groovy pop hooks of their earlier tracks “Kids” and “Electric Feel.”

On a scale of A to G, I give this album a B.  I am very curious to see how the rest of the music world will react.  The album definitely proves that MGMT can write some interesting songs but unlike albums such as Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” that take you on a musical journey in 45 minutes, this album has some interesting stand alone moments but doesn’t flow together all that well.

When you hear it, tell me your thoughts.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...