Shut Up and Play the Hits: The Very Loud Ending of LCD Soundsystem
Directed by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern. Featuring James Murphy 108mins, select release, Cert 15A
James Murphy, the creative force behind LCD Soundsystem, was in his late-30s when 2001’s Losing My Edge became an international hit.
The DIY post-punk dance troop has since garnered a fiercely loyal fanbase but Murphy remains an unlikely rock star. Shut Up and Play the Hits, a documentary record of the band’s final Madison Square Garden engagement, begins after the event with a newly “retired”, pyjama-clad Murphy at home, surrounded by Thomas Pynchon books. He escorts a tiny dog to the tree outside his apartment block for essential canine functions then shuffles back indoors. Bet Axl Rose doesn’t wear a tatty dressing gown to walk his mutt.
The band, in so far as a couple of session musicians and backing singers can be a band, are equally un-rock. The decision to bring the curtain down on LCD Soundsystem, like the music, is entirely down to Murphy. He explains the rationale to wittering rock journo Chuck Klosterman; he, um, gets recognised on the street too often now; he, um, was never interested in “ . . . actual famous-people fame, you know what I mean?” Excepts from the interview punctuate wildly exuberant scenes from the swansong gig but its still not entirely clear if this is a real disbandment or a Frank Sinatra “retirement”.
Murphy is wicked smart, if unassuming, and Lovelace and Southern turn out to be perfect choices for chronicling LCD’s demise. Their low-key footage of backstage hugs and hipster high-fives could not be described as warts’n’all, but it does feel intimate and appropriate.
Is this one just for the fans? Well, of course, but fortunately they are legion. Many of next Tuesday’s premiere screenings around the country – featuring a live satellite interview with Murphy – have already sold out. Act fast, electronica eels.