.. but great artists steal, or so they say.
And LCD are certainly mining the past on their third effort, the deliberately dense "This is Happening." James Murphy, the frontman and only solid emelent of an otherwise revolving lineup, has never been shy about proclaiming his influences and touting his musical heroes, but previous lp's always seemed more a mis-mash of otherwise incoherent styles, rather than the clear homages that mark this, the newest LCD album.
Not that I'm complaining; far from it. But let there be a warning to those who don't find late 70's Bowie or Iggy to their taste: a full three songs on the sprawling nine track lp are, beyond a reasonable doubt, directly inspired by Bowie & Co.
Drunk Girls, for example, copies "Lodger's" Boys Keep Swinging, while Somebody's Calling Me borrows nearly note for note the backing blips and piano of "The Idiot's" Nightclubbing. All I Want, too, reaches back to Bowie's "Heroes" for its Eno-itized riffing and vocal delivery.
The video for All My Friends clued us all in that Bowie's Berlin Tryptich served as a muse for Murphy and his band, but never before has it been more clear that the Bowie/Iggy partnership circa '76-'79 really ground LCD in the canon of Rock 'n' Roll rather than more modern dance music.
Which isn't to say the dance/electro that marked the beginning of LCD's career isn't still there. It's just much more subtle and nuanced when it is. Songs like One Hit and Dance Yrself Clean both feature the requisite kickdrums and basslines, but the melodies and lyrics are much more at the forefront. The days of Daft Punk is Playing at My House are over. If LCD's going to make a dance song now, they earn it with emotional impact and complex dynamic shifts.
So yes, LCD Soundsystem has matured. The humorous breaks don't dominate the record this time around, they just pepper delicate and honest confessional pieces. Think Someone Great and All My Friends for most of the record. Even the on-its-surface crass Drunk Girls proclaims during its bridge, "I believe in waking up together," a romantic assertion if ever I heard one.
So Murphy's grown up, in a nutshell. And if growing up lyrically means trading in the dirty indietronic rave-ups for '70s alt-rock inspired anthems, more power to him.
Just beware: most songs break the six minute mark.