James Murphy once said “LCD is a band about a band writing music about writing music”, a typically savvy statement from a man who, over 3 albums of hyper-aware electro-infused alt-pop genius, came to define the post-everything chat-room scholar, self-aware to the point of parody but, obviously aware of this. Breakthrough single ‘Losing My Edge’ boasted a series of absurd claims about being on the pulse and in the right place, parodying the “I only like bands you’ve not heard of” hipster, yet simultaneously acted as a signpost for the discovery of countless cool underground bands, which Murphy, in his role of elder statesmen to the New York cool set obviously had in his collection anyway!
Of course Murphy and co-horts took these achingly cool start points to dizzying heights by adding emotional weight and self-lacerating honesty (not a million miles away from The National’s Matt Berninger) to their clever and endlessly enjoyable electro-pop/ punk anthems. So when, after a triumphant full stop at Madison Square Garden in 2011, Murphy got the band back together, there was inevitably some fears that they may have completely lost their edge. ‘American Dream‘ lands in a very different America to the bands previous incarnation, where once New York seemed the centre of everything the rise of Trump has coincided with a certain backlash against the elite urbanites who are LCD’s natural followers. So is this merely hipster comfort food for the woke generation or does Murphy still have something to say? Or for that matter should we be looking to 40 something musicians for guidance anyway?
Well there’s a reason they bring drums to protests; when times are fraught it’s time to party and Murphy brings the middle-aged existential disco better than anyone out there! ‘American Dream’ doesn’t reinvent the LCD sound too much, but rather reiterates what makes them such a great listen; propulsive electro hooks, effortlessly cool sing-speak vocals, always exactly the right synth sound for the song etc, yet it also takes a few risks and brings in some significantly broodier and moodier elements. There’s a darkness and complexity at the heart of many of the songs here which make the listener work a-bit, but these only makes those moments of dancefloor euphoria all the more impressive!
Great to have them back
LCD Soundsystm – American Dream, CD
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