LCD Soundsystem explore the American Dream on fourth studio album
- David Pollock
- 29 August 2017
Murphy and co have a lot to say about the US today
If LCD Soundsystem's 2002 debut single 'Losing My Edge' was bathed in knowing sarcasm about James Murphy's fear of falling out of touch with the pillars of underground freak-rock history, there's a more tangible despair to 'Change Yr Mind', in a lyric which will doubtless be quoted all over reviews of LCD Soundsystem's new album American Dream. 'I've just got nothing left to say,' it runs. 'I'm in no place to get it right / and I'm not dangerous now / the way I used to be once / I'm just too old for it now.'
Is this another piss-take, railing against pre-emptive accusations that his band should not have bothered returning to the fray? Possibly, but there's a weariness to his voice as he croons 'you can change your mind' over and over; on top of a gorgeous, clashing guitar line which reminds of Bowie's 'Fashion'. And despite the buoyant DIY disco of 'Tonite' this isn't primarily a party record in the LCD tradition.
It feels, instead, like Murphy has reconvened the group because he has something to say about the USA today, rather than because he has new music to explore. In this respect, the centrepieces are the propulsive LCD cowbell funk of 'Other Voices', through which Nancy Whang wonders: 'who can you trust / and who are your friends … who is the enemy?', and the ferocious overdrive of 'Emotional Haircut', during which Murphy orders the listener to 'get on the streets / wipe the shit off your feet.'
It's an album offering little new but plenty of value to fans of this band, an LCD Soundsystem-style protest record which was created for the purer-than-most reason that the band felt compelled to make it. In the 12-minute 'Black Screen', the synthesised closing funeral march, it's possible to hear lines which may be directed at Murphy's sometime collaborator and influence David Bowie, and reflect upon them that perhaps following Bowie's lead of artistic perpetual motion is where Murphy feels most at home.
American Dream is out Fri 1 Sep via Columbia Records/DFA