LCD Soundsystem raises glass to "Drunk Girls"

Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:29am EDT
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By David J. Prince

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Just days after LCD Soundsystem's new single, "Drunk Girls," leaked online, a companion video of sorts hit YouTube.

As the first taste of the band's third album, the song had already set tongues wagging, from Pitchfork awarding it a "Best New Music" tag to Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield hailing it as an early contender for single of the year.

Clocking in at an uncharacteristically short 3:44, "Drunk Girls" is LCD's most straightforward rock song yet, with an unembarrassed "Heroes"-era Bowie guitar line, "Pump It Up" drums and a perfectly catchy low-brow refrain. Some longtime fans heard it as an unbecoming grab for jock-jam status. And the video, a conspicuously well-produced compilation of Facebook-profile-pilfered photos and camera phone videos of the extremely inebriated, seemed to reinforce those fears, especially given the clip's professional-level edits. Was this LCD mastermind James Murphy's meta-version of viral marketing?

"That repulsive video of throwing-up college girls gone wild?" Murphy asks the next week, emphatically denying his team's involvement. "No. That's kind of everything I loathe."

While he recognizes that the song could become a misogynistic frat-boy cheer, he remains unapologetic when it comes to his original intent. "I just wanted something dumb," he says. "I like dumb, short stuff."

No one can accuse Murphy of being dumb. In the 10 years since he formed LCD Soundsystem as a one-off Williamsburg, Brooklyn, party band, he's created the most compelling and witty rock'n'roll dance music to come out of New York since David Byrne put the big suit in mothballs. And without meeting any of the benchmarks bands once used to gauge success -- LCD has only average record sales and negligible airplay -- the group is in a powerful position heading into the May 18 release of "This Is Happening" and the start of a year-plus touring cycle.

Commercially, the fist-pumping "Drunk Girls" may prove to be the song that threads the needle, bringing Murphy's hipster piss-take to the masses with its official, hilariously chaotic one-take Spike Jonze-directed video and a serious push for new fans by EMI.

The album's other tracks hew closely to the signature LCD sound: analog synthesizers, processed guitars, expertly programed beats and layers of live drums and percussion. But Murphy's songwriting and singing have matured in the three years since the "Sound of Silver" album was released.   Continued...

<p>James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem performs at Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, August 4, 2007. REUTERS/Bill Auth</p>