5 May 2017

LCD Soundsystem's resurrection: The Verdict

As the world caves in and the Earth rushes head on for armageddon, it seems only one man can make things seem like they're going to be okay. One man can provide lavish technicolour to a world that'll seem even more grey in retrospect than the post-war era, a mean feat considering we only look at that time period in retrospect via the medium of black and white footage and photographs. In 2017, only one man can save us, and that man is James Murphy.

Familiar with the LCD Soundsystem narrative already? Well, in case not, they formed in the early 2000s, released a decent album in 2005, and two of the greatest albums of all time in 2007 and 2010, before disbanding a year later. Although five years seems like not much time to leave between a breakup and make-up, the world needs LCD Soundsystem's return, and it needs it as fast as possible. 2016 saw some festival appearances, in which Murphy and co. rattled off some greatest hits with urgency, satisfying us unsatisfied ones that have, since 2011, not had the chance to see songs as great as Someone Great, All My Friends and Home in a live environment. May 5th; midnight; GMT, and LCD Soundsystem have new music for the world to hear. And boy, is it one hell of an inhaler for those of us left breathless by the world around us.

A double A-side, with both songs topping the six minute mark, there's a sense of subtle greatness to the return of LCD Soundsystem. Call The Cops and American Dream are the titles of the songs, and contained within their (digital) grooves is some of the most beautiful and life-affirming music. Where the likes of Every Single Fucking Reformed Band disappointed (if only a little) with their comeback singles, this confirmed my long held belief LCD would not let me down. And as a li'l disclaimer before I get into it, obviously they put out the 2015 comeback Xmas single Christmas Will Break Your Heart, but that felt more like a Murphy solo track than anything else; a simply subtly nice Christmas singer-songwriter song that landed far from saccharine festive cliche. OK, time to get into it? Are you ready boys? Are you ready girls? Time for some un-disciplined hyperbole.

Call The Cops isn't just great. Call The Cops is fucking "Heroes" for the 21st Century. A building cathartic euphoria, it sounds effortless as it builds and builds to its transcendent climax. On first listen, it gave me goosebumps. On twelfth listen it gave me goosebumps. On the fucking hundredth listen this will give me goosebumps. A guitar skeleton gives the ground for these incredible searching guitars in the background that sound like an ode to Berlin Bowie, constantly washing the sonic field with this sense of euphoria and this spectacular beauty that I've not heard on a song for a very long time. The wreckless abandon before Murphy's cries of "and we don't waste time with love!" propel the song into a state of powerful timelessness as Frippian guitar glow and glimmer and squeal beautiful heavenly harmonies. Hyperbole can't do this song justice, beauty oozes from it as it strives to launch the listener into an eternal, infinite state of cosmic bliss.

Equally blissful, American Dream's glib forlorn beauty lies in these amazing falling synth lines that descend from time to time sending the track cascading into a sparkling sonic whirlpool. The crystalline crunch of the synthesiser that greets the drum machine at the very start is nothing short of breathtaking, a whimsical state of profound beauty. Even when Murphy urges you to "set yourself free from the bourgeoisie", it doesn't even begin to sound the slightest bit clunky, contrived or forced. Instead, lyrically the whole song sounds like a forlorn observation on tedium of capitalism, but it never once begins to sound preachy, or botched, as so many songs of this nature do. Perfectly subtle, this song is nothing short of beautiful for it's entire runtime. American Dream is everything you could hope for and more.

These two songs see the return of one of the single most amazing artists ever to have their art pressed onto a black disc of vinyl. Nothing is disappointing and everything gets better with every listen. I'd go so far as to say that these songs are good enough to be on any LCD album, and that if the LCD record is to arrive in 2017 it will unquestionably be the album of the year. The world is doomed, and only James Murphy can save us. And he just might.

(Words: Cal Cashin)