LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (Cover Artwork)

LCD Soundsystem

Sound of Silver (2007)

Capitol / DFA

Okay, everybody. Give a huge round of applause to the Killers. They tried their hardest, and by golly, they nearly killed dance-punk in one fell swoop. With their debut album, the Killers took a sound, that of dance-punk (a sound that had been gestating in the underground through bands like the Rapture, Hot Hot Heat and Radio Four) and created a crappy, watered-down sound perfect for the teeny-boppers who were just beginning to emerge from their boy band phase. That way, no self-respecting dance-punk band could continue making music without people associating them with the Killers.

Well, the Killers ultimately failed. A few bands, namely LCD Soundsystem, are soldiering on.

With their first album, LCD Soundsystem garnered a lot of hype, and lived up to it. It was simple, it was fun and it was smart. A killer combination, especially for dance music (which often ends up being convoluted, boring and stupid). With Sound of Silver, LCDS has broken beyond the hype and all expectations.

The opening track, "Get Innocuous!" has a strong Kraftwerk and Brian Eno vibe to it, which more or less sets the vibe for the rest of the album. The single "North American Scum," while funny, is easily the weakest track on the disc. The shouty female backup vocals conjure up Le Tigre comparisons, for better or for worse. Lead singer / producer / mastermind James Murphy's voice sounds great, not grating like some dance-punk vocals can tend to be.

Sound of Silver really kicks into overdrive with the chilling "Someone Great." Like most of the rest of the album, "Someone Great" carries a strong Kraftwerk vibe, but with more of an emphasis on lyrics. The lyrics focus on the passing of, well, someone great. With a beat that could put the Postal Service (uh, the band) to shame, "Someone Great" is bound to make it onto iPod playlists everywhere.

The highlight of the album is the funky jam "Us v Them." More than anything else, "Us v them" is reminiscent of Speaking in Tongues-era Talking Heads. Once again James Murphy utilizes his thorough understanding of dance and minimalist music to make an amazing song. If you find that "Us v Them" does not make you want to dance, then you should probably see a doctor.

The album ends with the remarkably un-dancey "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down." It is a wonderful love song to a city that has done so much for music, but that is apparently dragging James Murphy down. "New York" swaps out the cowbells and disco beats for simple piano that gives way, in the end, to head-banging guitars; a perfect way to end a nearly perfect album.