Grand National

    Kicking the National Habit


    The Police had a reggae/ska influence that added a danceable element to its often sparse and calculated brand of rock. More recently, LCD Soundsystem has a rock influence that adds a noticeable grit to its often mechanized dance tracks. On its debut, Kicking the National Habit (originally released in 2004; this limited-edition reissue includes three bonus remixes), Grand National attempts a bold maneuver: to synchronize the chic half of acronym-heavy groups such as LCD and VHS or Beta with the recognizable, hooky, and infinitely repeatable choruses and vocal refrains perfected by the Police. 


    On tracks such as “Playing in the Distance” and “Talk Amongst Yourselves,” the band reaches its goal; although Lawrence “LA” Rudd’s background vocals are, in his crystal British accent, almost identical to Sting’s, the melodies are tight enough to excuse the mimicry. But tracks such as “Boner” and “Peanut Dreams,” stripped of any excitement, are nothing more than highly polished and easily forgettable songs to ignore at a swanky upstairs club. 



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