A bold, climactic beginning to the career of one of the most essential collectives of the past decade.
I knew from the moment I first heard of LCD Soundsystem that I had found a band that is truly one in a thousand. I don't mean to over hype their impact throughout the decades past, I mean certainly they're not the greatest band to ever exist. But you can't ignore their influence of the generation prior, especially considering their impressively consistent discography (say for the exception of American Dream) that starts with this LP, which in one fell swoop solidified the bands sound and proved them one of the most exciting up and comers of the new millennium.
This album is far from perfect. You could certainly make the argument that the inclusion of a second disc of mostly released material was redundant in a way, and they're are plenty of shorter cuts here that I could plain take or leave. The brief three minute track Movement, with its overblown kickdrum static progression seems rather insignificant compared to the surrounding tracks, and in my mind doesn't serve a greater purpose than padding out the track listing. Then there are tracks I can't even commit to memory, such as Thrills, or Give It Up. The closer of the first disc, titled Great Release is certainly a climactic moment for the lp, unfortunately it doesn't extend beyond that, and to my ears it sounds like the beta to a bigger and better closer that would come later in the bands career.
I'd argue however, that the album has far more hits than misses, and remains remarkably innovative, fresh, and enjoyable. The opening track, Daft Punk Is Playing at My House is a great introduction to the band, and serves as one of the heaviest and most direct tracks on the album. There are similarly groove intense tracks that take a more lax feel, such as Too Much Love, or Disco Infiltrator, which I love. The former is a beat punching groove with mellow sung vocals with a harmony that gives the song an ice cold vibe. The latter, Disco Infiltrator is a more complex take on a dance groove, with very vibrant percussion, and bubbling synths that pair very nicely over James Murphy's exaggerated and outrageous vocal performance.
The longer cuts for me are the most worthwhile on this album. Unfortunately, I don't believe they were as spread out as much as they could have been, the best of them all end up on the second disc. You have LCD's first big single Losing My Edge, kicking off the second side, with a steady building groove and spoken lyrics, the track is an instant throwback to the likes of Talking Heads. The track has a very explosive second half as well, with the larger than life fuzzed out synths break way to a closing mantra. Beat Connection is another worthwhile one I feel, even if it kind of plays second fiddle to Losing My Edge. Murphy's vocals here are extremely enjoyable, with how emphatic and funny they are, "It's the saddest night out in the USA!"
The real crown jewels of this lp for me are the Yeah's, both the crass version and pretentious mix. The beat here is one of the best on the album, and it's interesting to hear it done in two different fashions, both complementing each other well, and work surprisingly good considering how visibly forced together they are on the lp. The mix of these two tracks is immaculate, with booming base, and a patient beat, paired with this "yeah, yeah, yeah" refrain that does an amazing job of getting the dance floor moving. The synths on the first of these two tracks reach a climactic point towards the end, a true ascension point for this project. The second Yeah is a true treat, featuring this foray of instrumental bits that are purely designed to get you moving.
I think this lp is a fantastic beginning to the career of LCD Soundsystem, with a bold unique sound, and its hard to imagine the band without it. Though its greatly out shined by the two lps that followed, I believe that the album serves as an essential for the dance music fan, and as a more than formidable debut project.