LCD Soundsystem return, and James Murphy’s got some bangers

American Dream flirts with indulgence but their party roots show through

American Dream
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Artist: LCD Soundsystem
Genre: Pop
Label: Columbia

You could argue that some musical comebacks should never have happened, but few have ensued as readily as that of LCD Soundsystem’s.

Just five years after playing their much-feted "final gig" at Madison Square Garden, the quintessential hipster band for millennials announced both their live and recorded return early last year.

Frontman James Murphy has extensively reasoned and defended his decision to reform the Brooklyn band in recent years, but it indubitably puts pressure on their fourth album to be hailed a worthwhile endeavour rather than a cynical cash-in.

American Dream certainly sounds like a different band to the one that released This is Happening seven years ago; while LCD Soundsystem have always immersed themselves in the experimental, the turgid Oh Baby doesn't exactly get things off to a full-throttled start, while the nine-minute-long percussion-heavy How Do You Sleep? scrapes the indulgent end of the barrel as Murphy's pretentious, repetitive incantations provide an instant antidote to the most stubborn bout of insomnia.


Then there’s the other side to LCD Soundsystem: the party band with the generation-defining songs for people to throw their arms around friends’ shoulders and sing along with.

Those songs are here too, although they are less abundant than on their previous albums. Change Yr Mind's shucked riffs and zig-zagging basslines nod to Talking Heads' more eccentric creations, and the superb Emotional Haircut bristles with a punky vitality.

Lead single Call the Police is a riotous, celebratory track that bustles with energy and is offset beautifully by the title track – a shimmering, psychedelic waltz by comparison.

It's not quite the decisive comeback that many may be expecting, but it's adequate; perhaps American Dream is an apt title for something that ultimately promised more on paper.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times