Lightning Review: LCD Soundsystem – “This is Happening”

The reaction to this album is visceral for me.  I’ve listened to it to and from work on the metro on several occasions since it’s been out and each time I marvel at how it gets better.  Take for instance, this morning, while listening to “Dance Yourself Clean.”  Just as soon as the fat synth line started up, my entire body got goose bumps.  I had to look around and make sure I hadn’t been electrocuted.  It just does it to me.  Every time.

Maybe that’s because “dance music” has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve leaned toward some more of the rhythmic, remix-friendly, dance-music stylings of 80’s bands like INXS and The Cult.  And, if you root around in my record collection long enough, you’ll also detect a love of lots of arty stuff like Joy Division and the Velvet Underground.  Bowie falls somewhere in between.  My older brother always used to give me a hard time about this “sweet tooth” as it were in my music tastes.  He called them “disco biscuits.”  So I’d listen to them when he wasn’t around.  Lots.

Now that we’re older, I don’t care what anyone else thinks.  I just know that if something playing in my headphones before 9am makes me feel like I’ve been electrocuted in the best way possible, it must be pretty great.  That brings me back to “This is Happening”.  LCD Soundsystem first hit the scene shortly after we arrived in Prague.  It’s been a virtual soundtrack ever since.  It filled the void somewhere after the dissolution of the Beta Band and the point where the Super Furry Animals disappeared up their own rear ends.

There’s also something very tricky about this music.  It seems, on one level, like light, plastic dance music.  On another level, to a music lover, it has tons of references to the great bands that have come before.  They’re all there, even if you can’t pick them out, they’re the engine driving this album.  At least in one case, you could say that they’re the generator that’s producing the electric shock.

Pick this up.  Put on the first track, and turn it up.  You’ll see exactly what I mean by “fat synth.”  Oh, and wear rubber soles just in case.



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