“I’m losing my edge” claimed LCD’s James Murphy as far back as 2002; fashionably late to the party with a debut single aged 32, he had something to prove to the youngsters - and prove it, he did. 15 years, 3 albums and a 4 year hiatus later, the band is back in possibly their finest form to date.
This latest release is a brooding reflection on the past, filled with, as always, numerous references and homages to their musical heroes. Murphy supposedly wanted Lou Reed or Leonard Cohen to contribute a spoken word piece on the album’s 12 minute outro “Black Screen”, but both died before he got the chance to ask. It’s fitting, then, that this track ended up as a tribute to friend, collaborator and idol David Bowie, who supposedly spurred the band into reformation by simply suggesting that they should. Not so fussed with recreating the jangly dancefloor fillers of yesteryear, the LP plods and bubbles through varying levels of intensity. Sinister and cynical pieces such as “I Used To” and “How Do You Sleep?” show Murphy at his most bitter, while “Call the Police” and the title track smack of Sound of Silver’s tender ballads “All My Friends” and “Someone Great”.
Rousing tracks “Tonite” and “Emotional Haircut” perfectly utilise their Talking Heads influenced electro-rock style for live performance, as demonstrated in their two powerful sold out Alexandra Palace shows, last weekend. These confident gigs saw 10,000-strong, intergenerational crowds coming together for a carefully crafted blend of old and new material interspersed with wit, charm, and a quick pee-break for the band. A strong comeback indeed. In 2002 Murphy revealed that he’s “never as tired as when I’m waking up”, 15 years later he may be “still trying to wake up”, but he certainly hasn’t lost his edge.
Album: American Dream. Artist: LCD Soundsystem. Label: DFA/Columbia. Top Tracks: I Used To // How Do You Sleep? For Fans Of: Talking Heads, Hot Chip. 69 minutes