Deep breaths...headphones on...needle dropped. LCD Soundsystem are back. Seven years after their last long player, and six years since their premature retirement, NYC's era defining, life changing indie-dance/alt-disco/punk-funk legends are back on wax with their fourth LP "American Dream". As the live hats and staccato pulse of "Oh Baby" give way to tender arps, dramatic synth bass and Murhpy's crooning vocals, all seems well in the world once more. Imbued with the same cinematic quality with which "All My Friends" and "Someone Great" stole our hearts a decade ago, this album opener is vintage LCD. One track in and I'm already hooked. "Other Voices" pushes the tempo and picks up the intensity, fusing low slung bass, sizzling 4/4 and buzzing synthwork into the kind of hypnotic, disco-rock groover the world's been crying out for. Backwards guitar solos and strange synth riffs lend a little psychedelic colour while Murphy's vocals, ably supported by Nancy Wang and Korey Richey, retain all the sardonic lyricism of a particularly arch Larry David. Closing the first side out with shimmering synths, slow rolling bass and a moody piano, "I Used To" details a midlife moment of clarity before the squawking guitar, loose groove and Bowie-styled vocals of "Change Yr Mind" bring the punk to the funkshow. Tumbling toms, immersive reverb and distant vocals march around nagging violin and spectral arpeggios on "How Do You Sleep?", creating a gloomy Joy Division ambience which soon bursts into a slo-mo technicolour via chugging percussion and big bass blasts - Far from your average drug ballad, this is gonna bring the house down live! Blasting through the speakers on a tank full of squelching synthbass, snapping electronic percussion and Murphy's trademark half spoken/ half sung vocals, current single "Tonite" picks up the electroid baton from "Yeah" and "Pow Pow" and treats us to relentless barrage of Murphy's needle-point self referencial wit. Hilarious, danceable and deeply on point, this could well be an album standout. Presumeably inspired by his time working on Bowie's "Blackstar", "Call The Police" pairs an achingly sincere, occasionally bleak lyricism with anthemic rock drums and buzzing guitars, relishing in the bittersweet beauty of life. Electro-pop ballad "American Dream" continues the quest for understanding and acceptance in the tough climate of 2017 as Murphy leads us waltzing through the richest synth tones of his career. As we arrive at the final side Murphy et al blitz through the punk inspired rage of "Emotional Haircut", a hair-raiser in the style of early !!! or Outhud, before embracing the existential melancholy of "Black Screen", the medicated lullaby which closes the set with buzzing synth tones and delicate piano. Though this album may lack the immediacy of its predecessors, it offers infinite emotional depth, sincerity and faultless songwriting. Leave your skepticism at the door, this is the best LCD Soundsystem LP to date.
STAFF COMMENTSDavid says: As you can imagine, news of a newly reformed LCD and a fourth album was greeted with trepidation here at Piccadilly. The band had gone out with a BANG in 2011, playing a sold out show at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden. What remained for James Murphy to say or do? As it turns out, everything. As Murphy himself, freely admits, the band were already bloated and old when they split, so there was no chance of the fans being disappointed in that respect, which just leaves the music... Let’s not mince our words then, ‘American Dream’ is a triumph. It’s a new record whose primary focus is the end of things. Pop icons, (ghosts of pop past litter the album, whether it be Bowie on “Change Yr Mind” or Alan Vega and Suicide on “Oh Baby”), relationships, music, even the American Dream itself. However, amongst all these endings, LCD remain a constant. Murphy is still a musical magpie, still lifting wholesale from Mark E. Smith, still the biggest nerd in the record shop, (the hobbled veteran of the disk shop inquisition), still losing (what’s left) of his edge but at the same time defining 2017 in a way that none of his contemporaries can.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xLP Info: Includes lyric sheet.
2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.