Even when you’re working in one of the more progressive and widely acclaimed acts of the last decade, a little change never hurt anybody.
When LCD Soundsystem ended in 2011, that’s pretty much what drummer Pat Mahoney was thinking. In the band, he yielded to James Murphy’s creative lead, and an intensive touring schedule had put his own musical ambitions—as a singer, to boot—temporarily on hold, but for the past four years he’s been eagerly making up for lost time. Mahoney’s collaborative project with longtime friend and solo artist Dennis McNany, called Museum of Love, drops by Brighton Music Hall this Saturday in support of their self-titled debut.
“I think we were both missing things mutually that we wanted to hear,” explains Mahoney, on the phone from New York. “That was a big part of what made us excited, to make the music that we felt like we weren’t hearing.”
Finding that elusive style meant more than just naming their shared influences—with Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell, and ’90s hip-hop being just a few. Before a single note was recorded, the pair spent long conversations pulling on the threads that would eventually shape their sound.
“In a real way, it’s about how do you work songwriting into dance music and techno?” says McNany. “Can they exist together? This was a little bit more to see how machines could be a part of that. What would all the references of the ’90s dance scene sound like if that met a Nilsson song? How would you work that into a regular song structure that wasn’t just a deep house cut?”
There’s a real pleasure in hearing them try to balance those equations on Museum of Love. “The Who’s Who of Who Cares” has the punchy new-wave irreverence LCD fans should recognize, while Mahoney’s vocals on “The Large Glass” blend with a swirl of fuzzy psyched-out guitars. For the answers to McNany’s aforementioned questions, spend a few minutes luxuriating in the warm organ groove bubbling under the sparkling closer “And All the Winners.”
The result isn’t a singularly defined sound, but rather a trust that, wherever Mahoney and McNany end up going next, they’re worth following.
“We are going to keep exploring,” Mahoney promises. “We don’t necessarily know how it’s going to sound. I’m hoping that we continue to surprise ourselves and each other. That’s been the way that we work, throwing stuff at each other and try[ing] to surprise each other and make each other excited.”
MUSEUM OF LOVE. SAT 2.21 Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave., Allston. 617.779.0140. 11pm/$10/18+. museumoflove.net.