Jason Adams
May 13, 2010 AT 04:00 AM EDT

You don?t have to look far beyond the Berlin Wall to glean the main point of LCD Soundsystem?s third full-length release, This is Happening. On their first two albums, man-behind-the-band James Murphy — also half of the DFA producing team — drew upon his professional deejaying skills to create brilliant-if-disjointed patchworks of dance-punk jams (?Daft Punk Is Playing at My House?) and synth-pop lullabies (?Someone Great?). With This Is Happening, Murphy & Co. closely align their sound and vision with Bowie?s late-?70s ?Berlin? collaborations with Brian Eno (Low, Heroes, Lodger), as well as Bowie?s work with Iggy Pop around the same time. ?All I Want,? with Murphy?s foghorn guitar lead and chattering piano, could almost be ?Heroes,? while the honking synth and spare drum clicks of ?Somebody?s Calling Me? evoke the same boozy wee hours of Iggy?s ?Nightclubbing.? Golden-voiced Murphy, however, doesn?t try for any cheap Bowie-baritone vocal mimicry, and his lyrics and musicianship have greater depth and polish. The best inspiration should come with improvements, and Murphy?s are vast.
GRADE: A

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