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Album Review: LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

3 min read
Photo: Sonic Pr

There’s a lot of iconic things from the past making comebacks in 2017 – from Twin Peaks to the Crystal Maze – but the return of LCD Soundsystem from the ether is one that feels more significant than all the rest combined. James Murphy and Co were prolific in the coverage of their demise in 2011, so the sudden hysteria surrounding the newly released American Dream is more than justified.

Daft Punk might no longer be playing at their house, but LCD Soundsystem’s refusal to stray too far away from their distinctly Brooklyn sounding identity is both bold and brave. oh baby ticks over as though time was merely on pause during the 4 year long hiatus. LCD Soundsystem paved the way for bands such as The Knife and most modern synth as we know it, and now it seems the band are taking back from what they one put in, taking inspiration from those who simply wouldn’t exist without them in the first place. It is this near reversal of progress that will allow listeners to swim in nostalgia without questioning the authenticity of such a move.

i used to transforms the normally technicolour LCD Soundsystem into a greyscale of disillusion, lamenting those who force us to grow up then leave us out in the cold. James Murphy’s voice has always carried a weight of emotion, yet here there is something more pained evident – something that seems to translate into near physical pain for the frontman. Things couldn’t be more different on change yr mind as percussive beats mix with out there percussion and a slightly more alien sonic approach. The jagged edges of guitars stab and jar against Murphy, who cannot bring himself to get out of bed for anything.

At last though there is a party on the horizon, as the pulsing synths of tonite kick into action. The world continues to go to pot, but LCD Soundsystem think that is the perfect excuse to get our collective groove on – never has political and social disdain sounded so damn catchy! Both call the police and the album’s titular track follow on in effective succession, with the latter pelting us into a unique space odyssey. The zoned out effect on Murphy’s voice make for a real highlight in and amongst the hefty subject matter being discussed, but at least there are no politics in space right?

emotional haircut might be the smartest song title of the past decade, and is something we could all stand to have lest we grow out of control. Much like the emotional spectrum, this track is all over the shop in terms of linear style; or lack thereof. It does recall one LCD Soundsystem’s best known tracks; Drunk Girls, but has a broader 80s movie feel than its historic counterpart. Closing the book once more on LCD Soundsystem is black screen, an electronically tribal outing that may prove a little too hard for some to swallow.

Given the intensity with which LCD Soundsystem tracked their demise in 2004, it’s easy to feel a little ungrateful at american dream for how short it is in length. But long running experimental records can often become too aloof for many to access, and so in that respect LCD Soundsystem have held back rather than give too much away. Here we all are all these years later still hanging on to everything that James Murphy does, because in a world with no Bowie and no Prince; James is an artistic genius in need of our appreciation before the electro aliens return to take him back to his own planet.