“Drunk Girls” is a predictable LCD Soundsystem lead single. Witty and punky, it’s the natural successor to “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” and “North American Scum”. It sounds like Bowie, in the sense that Blur’s “M.O.R” sounds like “Boys Keep Swinging”.
“All I Want” is what happens when you give James Murphy almost seven minutes to ape Bowie. Clattering in after five seconds of studio noise, and riding on an unending krautrock beat, “All I Want” is like the super-awesome sequel to “”Heroes”” that Bowie never wrote. Over victorious piano chords and a beautifully cocky lead guitar squall, Murphy comes over all Bono, intoning “I’ve never needed anyone for so long” in a pretty world-leading style. At this point, “All I Want” could be the second cousin of “Beautiful Day”.
Then, magically, the 70s art rock is overtaken by a terrifically squiggly synth melody which ascends in a manner initially euphoric, and then downright cosmic. Channelling the further-out reaches of electronic music through a beating heart of pop is a decision I initially treated with some scepticism, especially since the direction Murphy’s keyboard travels is a bit… self-indulgent, shall we say. To his credit, in amidst all the portamento-fuelled weirdness, the song never loses control and always remains just about in orbit. As he and his bandmates wail out “Take me ho-oooome!” and the piece decays into gorgeous vapours, you think, yes, he’s pulled it off.
“All I Want” is definitely the kind of epic art rock that nobody has dared tackle for at least 30 years. It manages to be simultaneously extremely louche (in a white chinos and deck shoes kind of way) and also super-slick – and one senses this is probably the smallest of compliments I’ll be handing Mr. Murphy by the time I’ve heard the rest of This Is Happening.