Like many great modern artists, James Murphy is a master emulator. He has built LCD Soundsystem from a well-studied pastiche between “indie” nonchalance and “underground” dance aesthetics — and, for the most part, it works. “This is Happening” is a meticulously crafted album of New York cool meets Pitchfork-informed self-consciousness, all the right moves made with a nudge and wink. Opening with the almost nine-minute-long epic “Dance Yrself Clean,” the third LCD Soundsystem full-length is only a couple of curious retreads away from being a 5-star achievement like 2007's SOUND OF SILVER. The single “Drunk Girls” lurches about like “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” remixed with zing-heavy lyrics that read more like Aziz Ansari than James Murphy. But when referencing Berlin-period Bowie and classic Psychedelic Furs in one song (“All I Want”), crafting heartfelt dance-floor love songs (“I Can Change”) and signature DFA grooves (“You Wanted A Hit”), THIS IS HAPPENING is ample evidence of how much sonic goodness can be wrung from only a handful of the right references.
(Originally published by Shockhound.com. Photo by Rachel Carr)