These days fashion is a major player in making an album hit or miss - and James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem proved this in 2005 when their self titled debut took everyone by storm. It being the right time for their blend of self referencing, witty beat punk wasn't the only reason it was such a success. The album was full of well crafted, intelligent music which set the bar high for their second installment. "Sound Of Silver" sees them take stock of all that has gone before and move on confidently.
'Get Innocuous' creeps in with a whisper and the album is off to a perfect start. A 2 minute gently rolling beat intro is the frame work for Murphy's unassuming vocals. This could be vintage Talking Heads if it wasn't for the fiercely electronic structure. It tells us from the outset that some new strings have been added to this bow and to start the difficult second album off with a 7 minute piece of lushness like this sends out a message of confidence and progression. 'Time To Get Away' revisits old ground with wailing vocals stabbing at stuttering beats but the new ideas soon return. 'Someone Great' opens with an almost Top Gun theme morphing into Human League synths and the stand out track 'All My Friends' continues the 80's synth revival with a more piano led driving beat that never pauses and could go on forever. James Murphy's vocals are taken down a notch as in the opening track and the result of this change is stunning. Its relentlessness is awesome and even though the pace never changes you feel as if you're building up to something powerful. As in the best Joy Division moments it's this combination of a rolling bass structure, subtly building vocals and the guts to take a song past the 4 minute mark that make this album memorable.
This is a band settling into their sound and a displaying a progression that shows a lot of maturity. Their 2005 debut was perfect for that time both in content and style. Murphy's DFA label was huge, pioneering a very exciting electro/indie crossover and the sound that emerged from the labels history was fresh and a generation of super-cool indie kids were more than ready to accept Murphy's blend of synth beats and abrasive punk musings even though his lyrics often ridiculed the image conscious demographic that followed him. But since then the elctro-punk style has become somewhat tired so this album couldn't have been easy for the band. Talking Heads have been the principle influence for some of the best bands to emerge in the last 3 years and they certainly feature here. But this influence has brought a more earthy sound to LCD and that's where the maturity lies. Just as with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's Some Loud Thunder we see a band who after making people sit up and take notice of their first statement are now settling in for the long-haul and although they've eased off on the gas they're making music with more depth and durability.