MUSIC: Sound of Silver Turning into Gold; CULTURE ROCK, JAZZ & CLASSICAL CD REVIEWS

The Birmingham Post (England), March 19, 2007 | Go to article overview

MUSIC: Sound of Silver Turning into Gold; CULTURE ROCK, JAZZ & CLASSICAL CD REVIEWS


Rock CD Of the week

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (EMI)

*****

After last week's stunning gig at the Carling Academy comes the second set by James Murphy, the man known as LCD Soundsystem.

If the debut was a corker, this is almost in a different league. Everything's tauter and better realised on this set.

Murphy's the perfect N.Y funk punk, he simply oozes street cool. Like Davids, Byrne and Bowie, he's not actually from the Big Apple but has made it his home, sucking in the sounds of the streets and turning it into something spangly and compulsive.

Like those two, he's also not afraid to write a pop song.

Get Innocuous gets things moving with a seven minute groove that is simply irresistible. It sounds like Kraftwerk and Funkadelic, if they were a tribute band for Talking Heads playing at Studio 54. It's a great start, but there's better things to come.

The single, North American Scum, is perfect. Truly. With his best Brooklyn sneer, Murphy reminds listeners that he's an all-American musician, unapologetic for his country's low-standing in the eyes of the forward-thinking world. He's the master of the well-timed handclap too, such an underrated force in popular music.

Someone Great is a love song, the sort of love song that gives love songs a good name. Even if you don't like love songs, you'll love this. It's based around the skewed middle section of a 45 minute piece Murphy wrote for Apple to accompany a jogging work-out. How cool is that?

The title track is my current favourite. It's a pretty insistent dance tune, another classic New York groove, made marvellous by the chorus: "Sound of silver talks to you / Makes you want to feel like a teenager / Until you remember the feelings of / A real, live, emotional teenager / Then you think again."

Fantastic.

It ends with a showtune of sorts. Lou Reed meets Lenny Bernstein on a hymn to NY. Like the debut which closed on a carbon copy of a Brian Eno pop song, Sound Of Silver manages to be enigmatic and derivative at the same time. It's a hard act to pull off. Try it some time.

You need this album, you really do. Andrew Cowen

Jazz CD of the week

Pat Metheny & Brad Mehldau - Quartet (Nonesuch)

****

Pat the older guitarist and Brad the younger pianist can rightly be called jazz superstars, so this album and the one that preceded it might be seen in the same league as, say, Monk with Coltrane or Armstrong with Ellington.

While the first disc was mainly duets with a couple of band tracks (Brad's bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard), this one reverses the format - mainly the full quartet - and is all the better for it.

The opener, A Night Away, epitomises the common ground the two share: the easy-loping character of a Metheny tune melded with the slightly more nervous skip of Mehldau. It may be the only joint composition, but for the rest of the album they continue to create a new joint world that might not be bigger than the ones that create it but in its own way is just as compelling.

Special mention is due to Ballard - one of the most complete drummers on the planet and ideally placed to do full justice to Metheny's rock tendencies and Mehldau's swing ones.

This quartet comes to Symphony Hall on June 30 - book now while you can still get in.

Anat Fort - A Long Story (ECM)

***

Another meeting between generations. This time a young Israeli-born pianist gets to live her dream by recording in New York with drummer Paul Motian. Ed Schuller adds bass and Perry Robinson plays clarinet.

Fort clearly has a lot of the same influences as other ECM pianists - Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett - and does some pretty things with them.

Fort's classical background, a leaning to free jazz and her Middle Eastern roots all broaden the range of what she does here, with the mood remaining contemplative most of the time. …

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MUSIC: Sound of Silver Turning into Gold; CULTURE ROCK, JAZZ & CLASSICAL CD REVIEWS
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