by Tim Birkbeck
Reformations of bands can sometimes leave a bit of a stale taste in the mouth, yeah the nostalgia is great but once that’s gone what is left?
But what if the gap in the break is only three year? Does it have the same impact? This is the position LCD Soundsystem found themselves in when they got back together in 2015 after splitting in 2011.
However, with the release of the band’s first full-length in seven years American Dream is more like a re-introduction rather than a trip down memory lane.
Opening track ‘oh baby’ is exactly the fresh look at the band led by James Murphy , any fan would expect. Simple electronic sounds with lyrics which carry a heavier meaning, with a rhythm which is both repetitive yet masterful.
This fourth record from Murphy and his various collaborators is full of references of endings: of friendships, of love, of heroes, of a certain type of geeky fandom, of the American dream itself.
These are big, serious topics for a project that essentially started as a goof.
In the track ‘change yr mind’ the lyrics “I have a penny for your thoughts. If you could keep them to yourself. About you slipping away. I feel you slipping away” ring around in the listeners head but to have a bit of a darker undertone to them.
It does take LCD a little while to get going on this record but by the time we reach ‘how do you sleep?’’ things are starting to get into full swing.
One thing the band do incredibly well is set a tone and tempo to their music, something which can literally be changed at the flip of a switch to incredible effect. There is no better example of this than the nine-minute epic, which has a very sombre start before kicking into another gear.
But it is the track ‘tonite’ where LCD are at their best, the dance rhythm will have heads bopping and toes tapping, but Murphy’s words are what really drive the track – I implore people to seek out the lyrics of the last verse of this song and not strongly connect to them in some form.
Murphy broke up LCD in the first place was to avoid getting too famous. The dirgey 12-minute closer, Black Screen, is part of an insurance policy.
Quite how through all this sombreness the band has turned out a great LCD album defies logic, but that is what American Dream is.
American Dream is out now via DFA Records and Columbia Records