LCD Soundsystem’s comeback album is one that looks set to be forever entangled in its own mythology. After disbanding in 2011, it was announced in early 2016 that the band had begun work on new material. Frontman James Murphy took to the band’s social media, apologising, and hoping fans would not be offended by the reunion, something which he had previously insisted would never happen. This level of uncertainty signalled a worrying start to the process that would eventually lead to American Dream.
This album, it must be said, features some of Murphy’s keenest pop song-writing abilities. Lengthy electronic beat breaks have been set aside in favour of more melodic and structurally straight-forward pop epics, such as the title track. Sonically, American Dream is much more unified than the band’s previous effort This Is Happening. Unfortunately though, the euphoric highs of songs like ‘All My Friends’ or ‘Dance Yrself Clean’, with which LCD made their name, are but meekly imitated here by tracks such as ‘Call the Police’ and ‘Oh Baby’. While the album will undoubtedly provide some powerful tracks for LCD’s live set or a potential greatest hits album, as a stand-alone it is their least forward-thinking release.
To some extent, LCD Soundsystem have always traded off the past glories of others, but this time it is their own mythology that they seem to be peddling. American Dream ultimately comes across as a victory lap of sorts, ground already well-covered by the 2014 live album The Long Goodbye. Sadly, this release furthers the possibility that James Murphy and Co. have finally lost their edge.
In a nutshell: Often flat and unremarkable, but by no means a bad album. A comparison with the rest of the band’s discography makes it appear worse than it really is.