By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
Woe upon the man or woman who is branded "hipster," burdened with accusations of snobbery, mercurial taste, sartorial irony, and the unearthings and rebrandings of previous-generation sounds. Everyone's favorite quasi-countercultural archetype has taken the mantle back from "slacker" as the current symbol of fickle, vacuous elitism. Still, those Von Dutch patrons are doing more to dummy-smack the final, feeble vestiges of indie rock's genre quarantine than your typical Wire evangelist is willing to admit. The gag in LCD Soundsystem's epochal hipster anthem "Losing My Edge"--which featured James Murphy name-dropping cool bands--was that the protagonist was slipping in the cred sweepstakes, surpassed by younger innovators. But the epiphany in that track was that his record collection included everyone from Pere Ubu to 10cc to Juan Atkins, and all of them warped him equally.
Eclectic Warrior was the first-draft title of LCD's double-album debut before James Murphy chickened out, but the eponymous title fits better; calling excess attention to the record's wide-ranging sound might have diluted its impact. Murphy's one-man-studio band can carry the weight of a deceptively simple post-punk groove like second nature, from the gothic jeep-beat booty-clap rhythm of "Tribulations" to the nail-biter slow build of "On Repeat." The latter starts off like Soft Cell programming the demo button of a little white Casio. Later, it swells into a motor beat that pulses like Fear of Music in a backseat make-out session with C'est Chic.
Even outside his trademark deconstruction, Murphy is unexpectedly at home. "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House" name-checks French house's biggest stars even as it does the mashed potato to a B-52's rhythm. Palate-cleansing closer "Great Release" neatly approximates Spiritualized's epic ambience. And the gorgeous "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up" pulls the startling trick of sounding uncannily like circa-'72 Pink Floyd, right down to the woozy Gilmour-ish vocal inflections. With the Mark E. Smith-esque last-syllable emphases in "Disco Infiltrator" and the fey Euro-deadpan of "Too Much Love," Murphy's voice remains a pivotal element of the genre-hopping approach. Let the haters hate--the cool kids are down for whatever.
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