North American Scum
OK, Mr James Murphy, it’s judgement day – be you disco messiah, or genre-cribbing charlatan, nicking bits from all your favourite records, we don’t know about and serving them up as your own arch-pop concoctions? The answer is in ‘North American Scum’. Oh, sure, this record has its faults. The way it mooches in, not sure what it’s supposed to be doing, apart from being a Big Hit Single. The suspicion that, if you chucked on some surf guitars, it might sound like Fatboy Slim’s ‘The Rockafeller Skank’. And the odd so-bad-it’s-awful lyric – see the bit about touring Europe, “Where the buildings are old, and you might have lots of mimes” (I guess he couldn’t make the bits about riding bikes covered in garlic and surrendering wars fit).
But… if this is coasting, dammit, LCD Soundsystem do it mighty sweet. Part-Cabaret Voltaire death disco hiss, part-Mark E Smith-being-tazered-in-the-goolies, ‘North American Scum’ builds into a ranting, raving rallying cry to the uncivilised Yank shown up by all us suave European aesthetes. Murphy still has a killer way with a tossed-off quip and occasionally Nancy Whang nonchalantly ambles over to the microphone and shouts the title like a cheerleader. It’s so good NME even loves it after losing the CD and having to review it by watching a fat guy called Charles dancing to it on YouTube.