Imagine a sleek, polished, and beautiful house and then some people moved in and made it a worn in, eclectic, and charming home. Electric Lady Sessions is that home. Lead singer, James Murphy utilizes his exacting discernment on their usual albums, but Electric Lady Sessions was just jammed up in their New York studio of the same name, famously recorded in by Jimi Hendrix.
There isn’t changes or new explorations for your favorite modern disco/house/new wave ensemble. The sounds and voices you dance to as passionately performed at festivals and concerts is what they were able to capture in their newest studio album. They were better able to convey the playfulness and emotion of their songs, though sacrificing some of their hard-hitting, dance-beat exactitude. However, since their sound is largely created through synthesizers it’s not in a whole other world of live music or anything. The newest additions to their repertoire are a few covers of some very disco oldies.
The album begins with “Seconds,” a Human League’s cover, remaining quite similar to the original. It seemed to be treated as like their own songs, played with similar and subtle renditions. The other two covers showed a little more variety with their rendition of Chic’s “I Want Your Love” tightening up the originally jazzy, sexy feel of the song to a more modern, upbeat remix. Heaven 17’s “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” ended the album and had a slight spin with synthesizer band member, Nancy Whang taking lead vocals. This is a noteworthy occurrence because nearly always Murphy has taken lead. Also, in the original song the vocals were male, so it was a deliberate choice to switch things up, possibly a nod towards future directions for the band?
The noteworthy re-renderings in Electric Lady Sessions had the commonality that LCD was able to bring in more emotion, more of a punch, or more of burning, live electricity. In “Get Innocuous” the impactful rhythmic and heat filled tone was reminiscent of David Byrne while the original was much more melodic and low (in terms of energy and tone). The emotional impact of vocals and energy was also felt in “Call the Police” and especially “Emotional Haircut.” The last lyrics of “Emotional Haircut,” practically screaming “listen to me now,” bring you in and pump you up more than the (in comparison) delicately recorded version ever could. “Home” was noticeably more emotional in a loving, comforting manner.
Overall, LCD Soundsystem has provided us with a new, loud, energized album of pre-existing songs. Some may think if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but in this case a little roughing up and breaking down made their structure a little more stimulating and refreshing.