LCD Soundsystem
Sound of Silver


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tom Gellatly USER (40 Reviews)
April 18th, 2011 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Probably the best collection of tracks that LCD put to disc; but not their most cohesive album by a long stretch.

Sound of Silver is certainly a tricky one. Anyone who's followed certain end of decade music lists will see just how highly several tracks from this album get placed consistently, and so you'd be forgiven for thinking that this album could be nothing short of absolutely legendary if you went in with your expectations based on the qualities of its best tracks. So let's get the spoiler for the review out of the way right now; when it's good, it's easily a 5/5; hell, it's easily worth its high placing finish on the many end of decade lists on which it did feature so prominently. But as any prog fan will tell you, good standalone tracks does not a good album make, and that's what really holds Sound of Silver back from being a true classic; it's actually less than the sum of its parts.

Whilst that might not sound like much of an insult, hear me out. If we're talking quality tracks, Sound of Silver has got them in spades. Get Innocuous! is the opener, and displays mastermind Murphy's talents gradually, in what ends up being a tour-de-force in the art of the buildup. The track doesn't cover much musical terrain, but that's sort of the point; it sticks so rigidly to its guns, that by the end of its 7 minute running time it's got the listener completely under its hypnotic spell. It works amazingly as an opener, and when I first heard it, I was sure that this album was going to live up to the hype. But then track 2 starts. It's not that Time To Get Away is a bad song, it's just that... it completely messes up the flow of the album, seven minutes in to its running time. Whilst Get Innocuous! does have all of the hallmarks of starting an album with great flow, Time To Get Away does away with the rich atmosphere its predecessor has created by giving us a fun, funky song. It's actually very good for what it is, but if Sound of Silver is vying for the 'best albums' list, then it can't afford to have this kind of dichotomy between its tracks, no matter how good they are.

And a lot of the time, they're really, really ***ing food; All My Friends has been the clear 'winner' from the album, placing in a lot of critics' top ten tracks of the decade. And this is with good reason; it's the kind of track that might cause LCD fanboys to scream out 'sellout!' as soon as they hear the joyously clunky piano riff start up, but it weaves such a lyrical tale of growing old, matched with a perfectly uncertain musical backing, that it's impossible not to fall in love by the time you've hit the glorious coda. Someone Great has also done very well critically and, once again, this is completely deserved. It's gorgeously produced, with more surprisingly good lyrics from Murphy, and is quite being, quite rightfully, lauded as another of the best tracks to emerge from this decade. Even the 'hits,' such as North American Scum, are excellently executed, with Murphy's trademark humor winning the day more often than not. To be perfectly honest, Watch The Tapes is the only comparatively weak song here; everything else is pretty much golden in some way or another.

So why, then, is this 'only' getting a 4 from me? As I've said before, at risk of sounding like a 70s drug addict, it's all about flow (mannnnn). I've said it before and I'll say it again; All My Friends, Get Innocuous! and Someone Great are all astonishingly good tracks, and even Watch The Tapes has its redeeming factors. But these tracks just don't gel as they should. The closer works perfectly to finish the album, and the opener to start it, but everything in the middle just feels like some tracks put together, instead of a cohesive album. This album was LCD's equivalent of Porcupine Tree's 'In Absentia;' both of them contain what are arguably the bands' top three or four tracks that they've ever recorded, but they lack the cohesive feeling, and this prevents them from being the band's best album. For LCD, they would reach that level with last year's 'This Is Happening.' There were (arguably) no songs that reached the highs of All My Friends, or the groove of this album's title track, but the record as a whole flowed so well, with a consistent theme and atmosphere throughout, that it's far easier to stomach as a full listen than Sound of Silver is. And that really is a shame, because Sound of Silver's highs are more than enough to make me recommend the album to anybody who likes, well, music; just make sure you're not expecting a true 'album's album.'



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyrael
April 18th 2011


20901 Comments


Good review, although it feels a little too conversational. Pos.


Defeater
April 18th 2011


5782 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Bad.

iFghtffyrdmns
April 18th 2011


7047 Comments


yeah definitely a very conversational-esque review, but you make it work. Nice job.

"it's actually less than the sum of its parts."
basically the opposite of my thesis for the review I posted earlier today haha

MarvellousG
April 18th 2011


368 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I guess the tone is a bit too conversational after reading it again, but I figure, as always, there are plenty of reviews that describe the actual music of the album more, so I try to shy away from that sort of thing. But thanks for the positive comments guys, and IFghtffyrdmns, I saw that and I do see that side of the argument, it just doesn't quite do it like that for me I guess

iFghtffyrdmns
April 18th 2011


7047 Comments


yeah I got you, your point/argument is definitely valid and clear here too.
just something that can definitely go either way

wabbit
April 18th 2011


7012 Comments


album is the shit

HighlySammable
April 18th 2011


2 Comments


Nice writing style, not too conversational imo. Awesome summary, just what I thought as I listened.

newjunkaesthetic93
April 18th 2011


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree with you, there's a couple songs that hold this album back from being really great, but there are definitely great songs on here.

conradtao
Emeritus
April 18th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Pretty good review. Pos.

Kris.
April 18th 2011


12356 Comments


fantasticsk albums

lovemore
February 18th 2013


7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My track ordering:
1. Get Innocuous! 7:12
2. North American Scum 5:26
3. Time to Get Away 4:12
4. Sound of Silver 7:07
5. Watch the Tapes 3:55
6. Us V Them 8:02
7. Someone Great 6:26
8. All My Friends 7:37
9. New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down 5:35
Builds up from punk-funk to the super melodic songs and its like a dance party, complete with comedown and walk home. Sound of Silver is now centerpiece of album and people are less likely to dismiss it as filler. Watch the Tapes background vocals at the end blend nicely into intro background vocals for Us V Them. Get Innocuous groove also transitions really well into North American Scum, and Time to Get Away lets there be a little rest following Innocuous and Scum dance high, also juxtaposing TtGA, the most lyrically dense funk song, with the most groove-focused and lyric-lacking song (Sound of Silver). And going from Someone Great to All My Friends to NYILYBYBMD is amazing.



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