This Is Happening

by Lisa Kirchner

When you make an electronic album as critically acclaimed as James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem did in 2007 with Sound of Silver, it’s hard not to expect a letdown.

But on This Is Happening, LCD’s third proper release, Murphy tries to cure the post-hit hangover head-on with something of a rarity in electronica: songs. There’s “One Touch,” a lilting, warehouse-ready slab of techno, and “Dance Yrself Clean,” a metallic, stripped-down shuffle that is suddenly brought to a Talking Heads-like boil. He’s got a kitschy club punk-hit-in-the-making with “Drunk Girls,” though its not nearly the best song on the album. That honor goes to the aptly named “You Wanted a Hit,” which wraps its melody neatly inside shards of keyboards, then turns it inside out. For Murphy and LCD Soundsystem, this isn’t happening, it already happened. But This is the next best thing.

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