CD: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver

The third summer of love is upon us and, writes Garry Mulholland, it's all thanks to a former sticksman in a punk band
Also reviewed: Various, Leave Them All Behind 2

In 2002, two records came out of New York City that simultaneously ended and reunited a singular dance scene. As Fischerspooner saw their much-hyped second album No.1 meet a critical howl of derision, their 'electroclash' blend of retooled Eighties electro-disco and fashionista irony was taken up on an ex-punk rock drummer's debut single. 'Losing My Edge', by LCD Soundsystem, aka James Murphy, above, was a piss-take of ageing, trend-hopping, cooler-than-thou music biz hipsters that made we victims of the joke laugh at ourselves, while dragging the kids we were terrified of onto the dancefloor.

The electronic rock'n'roll that backed Murphy's sardonic self-laceration - for the joke was deliberately on him - seemed to carry echoes of Bowie, Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire, the Fall, acid house and myriad other historical alt-disco faves without sounding exactly like anything but itself. Though never a chart hit, 'Losing My Edge' became a word-of-mouth cult, a challenge to the dour careerism of 21st-century 'alternative' music, and an answer to an obvious question: if we loved punk and disco and rave... why not mix the three and see if The Kids agree?

Five years on, it seems they do. The second, extraordinary LCD Soundsystem album and the equally influential Modular label's second compilation of disco-punk club hits are released into a chart-pop milieu where Mason and Princess Superstar's sleazy Euro-electro, Just Jack's deft pop-funk and the wide-eyed 'new rave' psych-rock of the Klaxons define even broader parameters of a nationwide dance wave. Expect the differing disco-punk pleasures of Enter Shikari, New Young Pony Club, Ali Love and Shitdisco to follow. If you already own last year's acclaimed Hot Chip album, then you'll have already received The Warning.

Nevertheless, the aforementioned Murphy is still the don of this dancefloor rock'n'roll thing, and Sound of Silver is the irrefutable evidence. Moving on from the knockabout wiseass-isms of his Fall-at-the-disco 2005 debut, Murphy broadens the scope of his sound into Bowie-Eno-Talking Heads territory, dealing with bereavement (the electronic pomp of 'Someone Great'), growing anti-Americanism (the hard-rocking 'North American Scum'), the controversial New York 'clean-up' (the Lennon/Hunky Dory ballad closer 'New York I Love You') and an overall feel of homesickness and dancing away the post-millennial blues. It's occasionally like a dream collaboration between Bill Hicks and New Order, with Giorgio Moroder producing.

Modular's compilation is a perfect catch-up with the global indie scene's take on disco-punk, featuring the likes of CSS, below, the Gossip, Jenny Wilson, Peter Bjorn and John, and a remix of Brighton's the Rakes by Murphy's production partner Tim Goldsworthy. And if you feel like checking out the cross-generational and polysexual, glowsticks and laughing gas, acid-reviving pleasure in all this, Brighton's Dirty Weekend club is a great place to start. Along with London's Kill 'Em All and Together, Stealth vs Rescued in Nottingham, Nu-Wave in Middlesbrough, Death Disco and Optimo in Glasgow, 110th Street in Dublin.

Other related LPs this month include the electro-disco of Canadian remix kings MSTRKRFT (The Looks, Modular, ***); the rave-pop belches of Belgium's Goose (Bring It On, Skint, ***); the arty New York dub-funk of !!! (Myth Takes, Warp, **); and the lush synth-pop of French DJ genius Joakim (Monsters and Silly Songs, K7, ****). All have their roots, somewhere, in LCD Soundsystem's hooligan attack on millennial rock's sexless ambivalence and in all, rock becomes dirty dance music again, just like it's supposed to be. It's the ideal set-up for The Third Summer of Love. Or, even better, The First Summer of Lust.

Download: 'Someone Great'; 'North American Scum'


Garry Mulholland

The GuardianTramp

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