Hall of Fame: A silver lining: Looking back on LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Sound of Silver’

A silver lining: Looking back on LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Sound of Silver’

James Murphy’s perfect second album is the latest inductee into DIY’s Hall of Fame.

There are opinions, and then there are facts. Everyone has their favourite songs - the tracks that bring back amazing memories, raise the pulse or fire emotions. But then there are those rare gems that go beyond mere personal tastes. Songs that operate on a scale so huge, so panoramic, that they defy anything so petty as subjectivity.

Over the past decade and a half, there’s one track which - maybe more than any other - deserves that kind of lofty perch. Seven minutes and forty two seconds of transcendent genius, ‘All My Friends’ is not just a modern classic, but a song that belongs in the highest echelons of alternative music of any era. It’s that great.

And yet, at the heart of ‘Sound of Silver’, it doesn’t feel to sit apart. There’s no great divide. Hell, it almost feels like part of a natural flow. It’s this that marks out LCD Soundsystem’s second full length. As integral to the fabric of NYC’s musical history as any number of revered garage punk bands, this isn’t just a great album, it’s a defining one.

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From the building neon claustrophobia of ‘Get Innocuous!’ to the immediacy of killer single and zeitgeist chasing, post 9/11 zinger ‘North American Scum’; it’s hard to find a single track which doesn’t pull its weight. ‘Someone Great’, the lead in act to ‘All My Friends’, is almost its equal. ‘Watch the Tapes’ and its electro-punk thrash a shot of adrenaline before the title track’s deep grooves. Each has its place, sequenced perfectly to the point where its excellence becomes no big deal - effortless.

But the thing that really sets ‘Sound of Silver’ apart? Its mastermind, James Murphy. Already responsible for countless scene-starting records as part of DFA, this is undoubtedly his masterpiece. A record full of bloops, bleeps, sequencers and beats, it would be easy for LCD Soundsystem to sound cold - smart, appreciated but unmoving. The truth couldn’t be any more different. From euphoric tears to whisky tinged sadness, it’s an album with the heart of a lion.

When touring the record, it was easy to see why. Murphy, stood between a gang of phenomenally talented musicians - Nancy Whang, Pat Mahoney, Hot Chip’s Al Doyle and more - was a conductor. A modern day Brian Wilson, passing each of their individual brilliance through his own organic circuits. As the final, bitter sweet bars of ‘New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’ fade, there’s no doubt about it. Time will not weary them. ‘Sound of Silver’ is the perfect album by the perfect band.

For DIY’s full Hall of Fame coverage on LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Sound of Silver’, head here.