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Who do we thank for another LCD Soundsystem album? David Bowie. He challenged James Murphy to scare himself, get the old band back together and turn this sucker out.
And it’s a win win for the world. 2017’s over-arching lyrical theme has been strength through vulnerability and Murphy begins their fourth studio album singing Oh Baby, a fragile song he made up while trying to soothe his newborn bub. “Oh baby, you’re having a bad dream here in my arms.”
That’s new territory for NYC’s unlikely, undisputed king of cool. Oh Baby erects crystal castles of synths, reprising the LCD deep belly “vavoom”, not unlike Caribou’s Silver pay-off.
Other Voices builds into a disco infiltrator, “You’re still a pushover for passionate people”, is followed by a familiar, familial request “Tell ’em Nancy”. Whang does just that.
Call the Police keeps the ’cuffs on when it should bust out of jail and become a no-wave, punk-funk fugitive. Murphy’s meta referencing “It’s just death from above” can’t shake the feeling he’s handed himself in.
Tonite has a fresher face. Remember hearing Losing My Edge, Sound Of Silver and Dance Yrself Clean for the first time? Tonite joins the pantheon of pivotal LCD moments. “I never realised these artists thought so much about dying,” he sings, always thinking about mortality, love’s pitfalls, the inescapable judgment of the internet and how friends help/hinder. “Oh good gracious, I sound like my Ma,” he yuks.
At 70 purring minutes long, Amercian Dream nearly doubles the average running time of most albums. Both the title track and closer Black Screen (a 12-minute journey to infinite rest) see Murphy et al tuck you into a perambulator, pushing you into a future where your head and heart will shake hands in furious agreement.
That’s the dream anyway.
Sounds like: adroit songs using analog architecture
In a word: confident
Here’s four more
Now time to buy
Originally published as Brand new album reviews