While LCD Soundsystem’s 2011 break-up left a void in the lives of many an electro-head, there’s been a delightful run of ex-LCDers putting out their own work recently. Museum of Love sees former LCD drummer Pat Mahoney starring alongside The Juan Maclean’s Dennis McNany for what could best be described as what a Talking Heads record produced by James Murphy would sound like. No surprises here, it’s released on Murphy’s DFA Records label.
On “Down South,” Mahoney’s voice is eerily reminiscent of David Byrne, and when he sings “I drove wayyyy down south,” it sets the stage for a trip akin to Byrne’s “Road To Nowhere.” While the roads meet digitally, they diverge on the progressive pace of Museum of Love’s tracks. By the time we arrive at the album’s third track, “In Infancy,” a journey through a dance record in the DFA spirit with nostalgic ‘80s vibes culminates for the first of many times on the record.
Heavy synth breaks abound on tracks like “The Who’s Who of Who Cares,” where we might as well be on a strobe-lit dance floor blasting The Cure’s “The Walk,” with tambourines sputtering in and out alongside smoky rattling effects. The organ on “Learned Helplessness in Rats (Disco Drummer)” is accompanied by an elongated steel drum sound and a didgeridoo effect. It’s very atmospheric and sets a lush soundscape for the DJ Harvey-like break to drop in over Mahoney’s echoing vocals.
For all its production merits and accomplishment as a tasteful ‘80s electro throwback, Museum of Love’s downfall is that it’s only nine tracks (and one is a 56-second intro). The album’s crowning progression comes on “Monotronic,” where Mahoney and McNany control a build-up into an intense drum and bass hit that just begs for a further exploration of experimentations like this one. But I suppose wanting more is the kind of critique a debut album can live with, especially one that successfully ties together so many classic electro concepts.