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Museum Of Love
Museum Of Love Nick MacWilliam , October 29th, 2014 10:57

When you break up like LCD Soundsystem did in 2011, it's probably best to keep a low profile for a while. In April that year, the band played an epic farewell concert at Madison Square Garden, as 20,000 mourning-yet-ecstatic fans got to see James Murphy and co deliver one final three-hour-plus set of electronic disco hooks and driving rhythms. This was the iconic venue where Led Zeppelin filmed The Song Remains The Same, the site of George Harrison's Bangladesh concert, and where Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday to JFK.

LCD have since generally kept heads down since that spectacular send-off. James Murphy has been about – OK, he's been all over the shop, guest appearances here, production credits there, DJ-ing on the festival circuit, soundtracking Noah Baumbach films, producing his own coffee – but as yet has not committed to a new full-time project. It is instead drummer Pat Mahoney who has taken the first steps to a definitive post-LCD career, one in which, as if to fully break from the past, he never once picks up the sticks. Museum Of Love, Mahoney's new outfit with Dennis McNany, aka beat-producer Jee Day, first came to attention with last year's remix of Battles' 'My Machines'. Now, they've released their eponymous debut album, reaffirming the weirdly similarly-surnamed duo as accomplished practitioners in categorical mangling.

The home of several artists which straddle the electro and alt-rock genres, DFA Records has done more than most to consummate the marriage between these ostensibly different styles: stalwart names like LCD, The Rapture and the Juan MacLean have all been on the DFA roster, making it a logical base for Museum Of Love, whose two members have a long affiliation with the label. Museum Of Love might sound like some venerable institution dedicated to titillation and sexual invention – located in, say, Strasbourg, where the displays are arranged in a series of minimal spaces chronicling erotic paraphernalia through the ages: ivory dildos, pornographic tapestries, sodomy thrones, that sort of thing – but the reality is likely to disappoint historical voyeurs. For enthusiasts of experimental and introspective post-punk electro, however, it might be just the thing.

Aside from 40-second curtain raiser 'Horizontalator', the album gets going with the darkly clubby 'Down South'. A riff emerges from within the bowels of tech-groove on what it is essentially a song about going to the beach to get laid. Mahoney's vocal – "I need to find your love. I'm heading way down south" – is predicated on your interpretation of what heading south means. For most, it certainly beats going north. And, yes, the double entendres can flourish around lyrics like these.

This surfaces again on 'Monotronic', as Mahoney's mournful lilt provides an ironic twist. "I wasn't made for this much happiness," he sings, with the gusto of someone about to jump from a cliff. His imperfect voice is part-lullaby and part-lament, though not without vim, the vocal equivalent of a particularly sad-looking Labrador that suddenly spots a squirrel. And Museum are not afraid to shift in tone without warning, as when pulsing psych-rock number 'The Large Glass' jumps straight into the soulful 'And All The Winners'.

A couple of times McNany exhibits a strange tendency to shut a tune down just as it gets going. We're treated to a skittish beat on the aforementioned 'Monotronic' for all of, oh, three seconds, while the tinny old-school 'In Infancy' springs into life with the injection of a rolling bass-line, only to then end before said bass has even properly registered.

Playing around with different styles has served both Maloney and McNany well in the past, repeated here with a record most likely to find its place among those whose participation in the baying zombie throngs at dance festivals is a thing of the past. Having said that, the modern youth will also appreciate the swagger of tracks like 'The Who's Who Of Who Cares'. All in all, there's enough to see and hear to make this one museum worth queuing up for.

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