The initial release from the first new LCD Soundsystem LP since 2010’s This is Happening has emerged with little warning, ahead of a much-anticipated Saturday Night Live performance tomorrow, 6 May. Preceded by a lengthy, informative statement from James Murphy, explaining the status of the new record and touring plans, this is a knockout return from one of the great bands of the last twenty years.
‘Call The Police’ is a propulsive, motorik beast, driven by a bassline that harbours parallels with Sound of Silver’s lead single ‘North American Scum’, but packs a far greater punch, there’s a ‘Heroes’ era guitar line similar to that found on ‘All My Friends’ – a comparison that grows with the insistent bassline – that layers in feeling and adds depth; Murphy’s lyrics are strong as ever, the central hook at once throwaway and cutting, a statement of return; “We don’t waste time with love, it’s just Death From Above” turns to “We don’t waste time with love, it’s just a push and a shove”, while the verses are a harsh, direct reflection of where we find ourselves in 2017 – “The old guys are frightened and frightening to behold…. But you’re waking a monster that will drive you from your orioles of gold/And your body will get cold”.
Meanwhile, ‘American Dream’ is a swoon-some waltz, powered by an emotive synth line that allows for a sweet vocal from Murphy, calling to mind ‘Christmas Will Break Your Heart’, the track that marked their return to the fray on Christmas Eve 2015. It’s a more introspective number, displaying a vulnerability that’s one of the key tenets of the power of LCD Soundsystem; “In the morning everything’s clearer/When the sunlight exposes your age/But that’s okay”.
‘American Dream’ was mixed by Murphy, with ‘Call The Police’ mixed by Dave Sardy (tallying with how it evokes the Sound of Silver) – and both were mastered by Bob Weston. The LP is close to completion, though the release date could be some time away yet, as outlined by Murphy, due to the band’s determination to have vinyl for sale on the day of release, and the implications here in terms of getting the records pressed but first endeavouring to finalise mixes for Weston to master, prior to Shellac’s yearly pilgrimage to Primavera.
They’re currently trying to work out the scale of shows that should be played, eager to ensure that they play “full shows that aren’t so big that you feel like you need binoculars to see if Pat is actually behind the drums or if it’s Louis CK or something”, and that the ever-present scourge of ticket touting is managed, but it’s apparent in these tracks and in Murphy’s statement the extent to which the group are eager to share this work.
While there was a degree of grumbling about the nature of their return, as a year of touring exclusively the back catalogue led to demands for the introduction of new material sooner rather than later, the first evidence of the new record indicates that the time that Murphy & co. have always needed to produce their best work has borne tremendous results that only whet the appetite for what’s to come.
LCD Soundsystem photographed for State by Olga Kuzmenko.