NYC Hipsters Over Hill, Over Scene

    LCD Soundsystem

    This Is Happening

    DFA Records

    For most people, turning 40 usually involves an existential crisis and a sports car. Unfortunately, for James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, it signals the end of an era — and, by default, the end of LCD Soundsystem. His vow to discontinue the musical venture when he turned 40 means that — since reaching the milestone in February — the band’s latest album This Is Happening could very well be their last.

    It’s a disheartening reality, considering Soundsystem has been responsible for some of the most acclaimed musical innovation of the past decade. Since the release of ubiquitous first single “Losing My Edge,” DFA Records founder and producer James Murphy has crafted sharp electronica that straddles the line between danceability, comedy and bittersweet reflection.

    Murphy successfully carries on this legacy with Happening. His combination of derisive lyrics and a constant rhythmic drive are stronger than ever — most notably on tracks like first single “Drunk Girls,” which lambasts (you guessed it) all those drunk bitches we love to hate at parties.

    Almost in defiance to his own mockery, Murphy quickly turns to a more personal page of his diary. “All I Want” — one wistful take on a relationship, buried in distorted guitars and fuzzy feedback — is the album’s first groundation to seriousness, and ends up one of the album’s best tracks.

    Almost every song on Happening is longer than five minutes — typically a sign of pretentious drivel, which isn’t entirely absent here. The longest (and snobbiest) track is ironically entitled “You Wanted A Hit,” which arrogantly concludes: “Maybe we don’t do hits.” However, Soundsystem makes every snub-nosed second worth it.

    This Is Happening cements Murphy’s tenure as an electro-rock god. While the album doesn’t stray far from the cowbell-heavy, analog-rich electronica the band has honed over their eight-year run, the sound is perfected so seamlessly that it’s impossible to complain.

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