So, I wasn’t sure what to do for this month, because while I have been really enjoying this album, I honestly didn’t expect none of you to have it yet. Why? Well, there’s a few reasons: firstly, it’s on DFA, where I’ve devoured everything LCD have released, and Shit Robot, plus a few other things like The Rapture, and I know that’s the same for others as well. Secondly, it’s a two-man outfit that contain’s LCD’s rhythm section: Pat Mahoney, and also DFA family Dennis McNany, who’s been involved with anyone from The Rapture, Panthers and Shit Robot. So, that’s a surprise, but not the biggest surprise about this album, not by a long way.
It’s Mahoney’s vocals. Jesus, where have they been for the last ten years? Yes, LCD were all about the distilled elements of the trio: be it James Murphy’s gruff, heartfelt vocals and lyrics, or Nancy Whang’s keys and backing vocals, and then Mahoney’s inimitable, whirring percussion that seemed to be in a state of perpetual motion, even when it was slow and rumbling. But as the final notes of the compact opener, ‘Horizontaltor’, fade, in comes this sound that isn’t like anything I’d have ever expected. I’d actually – unusually – not picked out or previewed any of Museum Of Love’s previous singles, which meant that, despite them being around for well over a year already, I approached this with only a vague thought of what may be in store (synths, some great drumming, something hopefully LCD-ish) armed only with positive reviews from fellow LCD fans.
And this was the problem at the start. I just wanted another LCD album. Of course that’s idiotic, but it’s hard to separate my love for the three-piece from anything that involves any of them. That coloured my first few listens, even though there was a lot for me to enjoy. And then it just clicked for me. So, why? Well, I’ll return to Mahoney’s vocals first and foremost. On ‘Down South’ I thought I was hearing Bryan Ferry. It was a revelation. And just made me wonder why Mahoney’s vocals only ever appeared fleetingly in the background of some of my favourite records. It was pain, heartache, and this great falsetto. It was like my favourite band had included a hidden member I’d never been aware of. And while there are only nine tracks in its spartan forty-two minutes, there’s so much to like here. ‘In Infancy’ is probably the most ‘LCD-like’ track, with its heavily effected chorus vocals and familiar Mahoney percussion shuffle and synth motifs, while ‘FATHERS’ is a gorgeous lament – one of the standout tracks on the albums with a looped, rolling key that makes me think of ‘Home’ every time I hear it – and ‘The Who’s Who Of Who Cares’ leans towards Shit Robot.
Yes, I’m comparing this to other stuff I know, but given the label that’s inevitable. But, and it’s a big but, this is immaterial because Mahoney’s vocal, that gives the whole album its own feel, so in the end, after a few listens, it’s just simply Museum Of Love. There’s some really great stuff to love here – ‘Learned Helplessness In Rats (Disco Drummer)’ (what a title!) has this infectious, watery, drums, and brash chords, ‘Monotronic’ is rumbling, slow-disco vibes, and ‘The Large Glass’ is gloriously ‘out there’, but ‘All The Winners’ tops them all off. Lovely keys, and this wonderful balanced vocal, muddied in a delay. This isn’t an album that I’m infatuated with, yet, but I keep coming back for more and more because the tracks stick in my head and pop up at the oddest times. That’s always a sign of promise.
But, see for yourselves.