Not many albums get requested by 95% of our reviewers (the other 5%, we guess, were playing it admirably cool), so instead of a regular review we gathered LiS stalwarts and avowed LCD fans Gemma Samways (@gemtriesharder) and Danny Wright (@dethink2survive) to talk all things American Dream…
First off, please grade your level of LCD fan – how much do they mean to you?
Gemma: I think they are the best band of the 00s.
Danny: I would say 9.3/10 – one of the most important bands for me over the last 10 years. ‘All My Friends’ is my favourite ever song.
What is it especially you love about this band?
Gemma: I remember hearing ‘Losing My Edge’ in 2003 and my mind was blown. I think they got me into more electronic music to be honest. Before that I had probably thought dance music wasn’t for me (though that was probably because I didn’t know enough).
Danny: Music and lyrics really – he’s obviously a great lyricist and a great crate digger. Every album fuses all my favourite musical touch points together. I used to think electronic music + guitars = Linkin Park.
How did you react to the promise of new LCD music after a very public ‘we no longer exist’? Were you just hoping it wouldn’t be terrible, or expect greatness?
Danny: I thought he’s smart enough not to just come back for the money. I trust him like a friend.
Gemma: I expected greatness. They’ve never let me down before.
Danny, you already said but Gemma, what’s your favourite LCD song?
Gemma: ‘Losing My Edge’.
Is there anything on the new album that comes close to either of those?
Gemma: I think it’s pretty different and not all that comparable – I’m not sure they were looking to emulate the arms-aloft, hug your pals feeling of ‘All My Friends’. It seems more paranoid than that. ‘how do you sleep’ sounds nothing like their other stuff and I really like it. There seems to be quite a lot lyrically about disconnection.
Danny: I think that’s what it’s missing to be honest. A banger. It seems a heavier album, less deft and agile, less angular. But I think it fits together well. I can see why ‘’tonite’ was the lead single.
Is there anything new going on here? Or it is just another LCD album? Does it remind of anything else or influences? ‘i used to’ kinda reminds me of ‘You Spin Me Round’.
Gemma: I picked up loads of classic, more rock influences.
Danny: I like how some of it sounds like Depeche Mode and Echo and the Bunnymen. And he owes the Bowie estate some money for ‘Change Yr Mind’- so scary monsters-esque.
Gemma: ‘change yr mind’ reminds me of a cross between Fashion and The Slits. Like The Slits with Robert Fripp on guitar.
Danny: ‘how do you sleep’ is so 80s it sounds like Murphy standing in a cave wearing shoulder pads shouting the lyrics. It feels huge by the end with the big puddles of synths.
Is there a sense American Dream is about something? Does it tie in with previous records?
Danny: I suppose it’s that thing he always tries to capture of growing old but not feeling old and what you do with all of that. I can relate.
Any lyrical highlights? I’m still reeling from ‘These morning ablutions are all part of the dance’.
Gemma: Maybe not a highlight but when Nancy sings “This is what’s happening and it’s freaking you out, I’ve heard it and it sounds like the 90s” on ‘other voices’ it felt very LCD. “Life is finite, but shit it feels like forever” is nice. Also “You warned me about the cocaine and then dove straight in”.
Danny: I like on ‘tonite’ he says “Good grief, I sound like my ma!” And I still like “The first sign divides us, the second is moving to Berlin”.
Gemma: Is there a favourite song question?
Yes. What’s your favourite song on the album?
Gemma: It’s between ‘how do you sleep’ and ‘oh baby’.
Danny: Yeah ‘oh baby’ or ‘tonite’ for me. I also love the last few minutes of ‘black screen’.
Gemma: A killer opening track is LCD’s calling card, and when ‘oh baby’ begins you think they’ve blown it, but it’s that epic slow build they’re so good at.
Danny: Can’t believe they haven’t done their novelty ‘Drunk Girls’ / ‘NA Scum’, they’re maturing.
What’s the worst thing about the album?
Gemma: It’s way too long. All their albums have been nine tracks long until this one. Ten songs clocking in at 70ish minutes is too much.
Danny: I think it’s definitely a repeat listen kind of album.
Gemma: I think it’s a grower. I’m not blown away but nor do I feel cheated. They’re doing new things, not just retreading old ground.
Danny: Yeah, I’m only disappointed because when they came back he said he had songs in his head he wanted to make so I thought ‘these must be amazing’. They’re not amazing. They are good though. I’d give it 7/10 If I had to rate it, and that’s holding it up to my high expectations. I think they’re changing in a really interesting way. I do think that sense of fun is missing a bit, there’s always a bit of a raised eyebrow but not as much as I’d like. Not a fan of the lower case styling of the titles and the album cover either.
Where does it rank in the list of LCD albums right now?
Gemma: I don’t know, I think Sound of Silver is leagues ahead of them all – it’s genuinely perfect.
Danny: Probably last at the moment but it might grow on me. The only song I’ve ever hated by LCD is ‘Somebody’s Calling Me’. ’emotional haircut’ is a great song title.
Gemma: If Flight of the Conchords were to parody LCD Soundsystem, they’d have probably written ‘other voices’. They might have put even more cowbell on it though.
Do you want more new music from them? Is there more you think they can offer? Or are they at the decline stage, like poor old Arcade Fire.
Danny: Arcade Fire seem like Benjamin Button, this is more like a Bowie-type maturation. They couldn’t keep making party bangers. It’s quite a fucking weird record really and I like that about it. It would have been easy to just do the same old it’s getting under my skin.
Gemma: To be honest I put off listening to this album for as long as I could, because I was not impressed by the title track and was anticipating an Arcade Fire-style disaster
I needn’t have. Their legacy remains intact.
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