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Museum of Love debut is short but sweet

| Monday, November 17, 2014

museum-of-love-WEBKeri O'Mara
LCD Soundsystem was one of those once-in-a-generation kind of bands, the kind that inspires electro-heads, punks and aspiring DJs for years after they quit making music. LCD Soundsystem went out with quite the bang back in 2011, playing an epic farewell show to 20,000 crazy fans in Madison Square Garden for over three hours. After that, the band has been pretty quiet. Sure, leading man James Murphy has been up to his eccentric projects — producing his own coffee, directing short films and remixing David Bowie songs — but beyond that, none of the members of LCD Soundsystem have pushed forward into a new career.

That is, until earlier this year, when drummer Pat Mahoney formed Museum of Love with The Juan MacLean’s beat producer Dennis McNany (a.k.a. Jee Day) and started their first eponymous LP under Murphy’s DFA label. The “Museum of Love” LP is different from LCD Soundsystem’s discography and other albums released through that label; it’s more artsy and less in-your-face, but it is, nevertheless, a remarkable debut album.

The album opens up with the 54-second intro track “Horizontalator,” but things really get started with the dark, clubby “Down South.” This song builds upon a sinister synth riff emerging from the underbelly of the eighties and incorporates some funky vocal tracking from Mahoney himself. Even though Mahoney is an accomplished drummer, he shifts most of the rhythmic work of this album to the machines and instead focuses on showing off his vocal prowess.

The song “FATHERS” is probably my favorite example of this and one of my favorite tracks from the album. Mahoney takes some risks on this track vocally by exposing us to his fuller range and it certainly pays off. The bouncy synths and floaty trumpets compliment his vocal performance, combining to create an awesome track.

The best song on the album, though, is “Monotronic,” which succeeds in creating emotional dissonance as it builds and tears down within its wonderful five minutes. Throughout the track, the arrangement tenses and builds, introducing synth riffs, drum machines and a keyboard line before stripping us of everything to leave us only with the line “I wasn’t meant for this much happiness, I can’t believe it’s come to this” echoing in its mystery. Here again, Mahoney’s vocal work is impressive, especially in its imperfection, which he manipulates to project a melancholic mood. It is the album’s standout song, and those who have been fans of the track since its initial release will be thrilled to see it sitting amongst songs of a similar strong quality.

As strong as each song on “Museum of Love” is, the band Museum of Love fails to tie it all together. Each song feels expertly crafted in its own right, but feels disconnected from its brethren. Other than that, my only major concern for the album is its brevity. Coming in at 9 songs (one of which is an intro) and 41 minutes, “Museum of Love” is a solid album that leaves us wanting more, which is never a bad thing for a debut.

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About Jimmy Kemper

Scene writer, Economics major, and Seinfeld enthusiast

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