Although it is a live recording of mostly previously existent songs, James Murphy & company breathe new life into their classics on Electric Lady Sessions.
Recorded at Electric Lady studio in New York, LCD Soundsystem’s newest live album captures the high-energy — borderline bloodthirsty — essence of a live show.
Initially constructed for the recording of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Electric Lady Studios has welcomed an incredible amount of musical powerhouses throughout its existence. With acts ranging from The Clash to Frank Ocean, or AC/DC to David Bowie, the amount of musical history imbedded into this studio is unparalleled.
With these influences in mind, LCD recorded three new cover songs specifically for the session. James Murphy’s new wave, house, and funk infatuation is as prominent as ever; borrowing songs from The Human League, Heaven 17, and CHIC.
Presenting an incredible variety of tempo throughout the album, Electric Lady starts out nice and slow with a Human League cover, “seconds,” and the title track of their most recent release, “american dream.” These soft songs that would fit seamlessly into an ’80s high school prom playlist. Like a glorious eagle spreading its wings, soaring synthesizer use is most obvious on “american dream,” but makes its presence felt throughout every song.
Any doubt of Murphy’s vocal power is extinguished as he masterfully surfs atop this wave of sound. Now nearing 50 years of age, the self-proclaimed “hobbled veteran of the disk shop inquisition” continues to show his voice hasn’t lost a step. On songs such as “emotional haircut,” Murphy’s snarling vocals provide a sense of urgency unfelt since their 2005 self titled release.
Of course, James Murphy is not alone in his quest for sonic greatness. Pat Mahoney continues to deliver absolutely visceral drumming throughout the record, maintaining near-inhuman drum patterns with robotic consistency. Al Doyle, lead guitarist, effortlessly jumps from reverb heavy fingerpicking to power chord goodness and all the way back again. Those who missed Nancy Whang’s vocal presence on American Dream (myself included) receive a basket of goodies in the form of two new covers, “we don’t need this fascist groove thing” and “i want your love.”
The newest LCD Soundsystem release truly has something for every fan of the seminal dance-punk group. From chiming synthesizer almost as cute as the “oh baby” music video itself, to a blood-pumping sense of urgency in “call the police” that makes one think phoning the boys in blue might not be such a bad idea, the DFA Records flagship group shatters any doubt that they’ve lost their step.
Drew Morrison is a Cal Poly Environmental Management junior and a KCPR staff member. He wrote the article. Image credit to DFA Records.