LCD Soundsystem’s 2016 return was nothing short of stellar. Crowned by the twin beasts of Coachella and Glastonbury festivals, it was, to employ one cliche, as if they’d never been away; the celluloid sadness of 2011’s ‘Shut Up And Play The Hits’ a distant memory as crowds joyfully celebrated, well, ‘the hits’ themselves once more. But, once seen, those heart-wrenching scenes of a dejected James Murphy, speechless and on the verge of tears, can’t be forgotten. And, at the halfway point of their comeback record, as the bleak 9-minute epic ‘How Do You Sleep?’ booms away, James’ vocal stretched to breaking point, it’s as though we’re right back there with him. The band may be best known for its dance-punk insta-classics, but ‘American Dream’ is, for the most part, dark as fuck.
Opener ‘Oh Baby’ might have that unmistakeable synth sound, but James isn’t just Actual Singing - but crooning - as he repeatedly pleads the title’s refrain. ‘I Used To’ and ‘Change Your Mind’ are similarly despondent, the former brimming with anxiety as it builds, while the latter pairs its glum vocals with skittish guitar in a clever call-and-response. And yet, just as the record threatens to get Too Much, as ‘How Do You Sleep Tonight’ wrings out its last notes, the crowning glory that is ‘Tonite’ kicks in. A ‘Losing My Edge’ mk II of sorts - opining on current pop music trends, “what remains of the airwaves”, and internet culture in suitably knowing-wink style - it’s most of what’s drawn the world to LCD Soundsystem in the first place at once. More ‘All My Friends’ and ‘Someone Great’ than ‘Drunk Girls’ or ‘North American Scum’, then. This wasn’t ever going to be a bad album, was it?