The second LCD album, ‘Sound Of Silver’, released on Monday, now finds itself born into an environment, over here at least, where this attitude is omnipresent. You only have to look at the likes of Soulwax’s chart-pummelling reworking of the Gossip’s ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ and the older-but-no-less-unavoidable ‘We Are Your Friends’ by Justice Vs Simian; or witness the increasing number of indie band singles that come equipped with a trendy remix on the flip – now labels recognise that it is just as important for their bands to be played in clubs as on the radio; or remember, for goodness sake, that Murphy himself was asked to compose an exercise tape (called ‘45:33’) for Nike.
It’s not as if LCD’s debut album – coming as it did nearly three years after those initial (and exciting) ‘what the fuck!?’ singles – was released into an unsuspecting, alien landscape, but this time around the sound feels even more ubiquitous, almost primed to permeate the mainstream to the extent that trip-hop did at the end of the ’90s. Hopefully without disappearing up its arse, though.
What’s more, while ‘Sound Of Silver’ is undeniably an utterly brilliant record, what it isn’t – even by its creator’s own admission – is a radical departure. Put it this way: if you’ve heard the lead-off single ‘North American Scum’ (whose very title exhibits the same self-deprecating wit that made ‘Losing My Edge’ so striking), you will have known who it was within seconds. Moments like the Phil Oakey-esque title track may show off a slightly more conventional, less stand-offish singing style, but the reality is that this ain’t no new direction. Maybe it stems from the reverence his work receives in the UK not being reciprocated to quite the same level in his native New York, or all those copycat outfits, but it certainly doesn’t feel like an album affected by any pressure to change or move on.
‘I’ve been a producer for a really long time,’ he says, ‘and I’ve been in the studio with bands who put a bit of distortion on the bass and think, “Man, people won’t even know who this is!” and I’m just like, “You’re living in a fantasy land. No one will care.” So I fully expect to put a record out and everybody to think blah, blah, more of the same shit. In a certain way I work to that: I do want to do something different, but I just really want to make stuff that I like. Don’t get me wrong, to me it is a step forward, but I’m realistic. I don’t want to turn into a parody of myself, but I recognise what’s good about LCD Soundsystem, and what I think people like. If it’s more of the same shit, then it’s more of the same shit – whatever.’
Murphy certainly doesn’t feel any compulsion to educate or elevate the rest of the music scene to his lofty level of commitment either. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever made a claim to startling originality,’ he shrugs. ‘And anyway, in my experience, people looking for progress aren’t actually looking to move things forward, they’re looking to be perceived in a certain way, as a forward thinker. It’s about vanity rather than any altruistic motives for the art.’
Remember that next time you go hunting for Black Dice bootlegs.
LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Sounds Of Silver’, is out on Monday on EMI.