LCD Soundsystem — American Dream ANALYSIS & REVIEW
What we have here is nothing that should be called ordinary, and yet its composition, which is fully derived from James Murphy’s singular yet powerful musical strength, is nothing terribly surprising. This reunion album for LCD Soundsystem shows exactly what they’re good at and what makes their music worthwhile, which are the spacious, static, rhythmic drones that provide a dose of beauty and strong energy within themselves, while also contributing to the creation of unique musical structures through their harmonic and melodic usages. The fact that every song on this album had at least a couple moments of well-timed texture shifts or engaging harmonic delivery within this quite entrancing sound made this work an overall success.
However, it was not entirely convincing all the way through. Relying heavily on achieving a successful timbre is never a bad idea in today’s music world, but in doing so here there came with it a rather insignificant delivery of the other elements. This is exemplified in the song’s title track. This goes back to what I said about the album not being very surprising, because this sort of lopsidedness in quality has happened a lot since the middle of the 20th century when musicians essentially gained full control over their sound. It’s certainly nice to be able to control everything, but sometimes writing linear music takes trust and a need to go beyond what you know you’re already capable of.
There were some intriguing short linear passages and neat harmonic progressions that flip-flopped being the dominant force of each song with each other, but rarely were they able to exist together and create one cohesive, amazing musical idea. There were only glimpses of that in two songs; “Call the Police” and “Emotional Haircut”, coming in at the end to push the work over its hump and help it limp to its solid rank. It’s actually the quality of those two songs, along with Murphy’s reputation and influence, that separate this work from other timbral experiments and makes this a solid listen.
Without being more convincing in the barebones song structures, though, there was always a little uneasiness in my listening experience despite the captivating sound. There’s still no denying the coolness of the sound, and those who use the art of music for the satisfaction of unique sounds alone should certainly delight in this. It has its weaknesses, some that I know Murphy has dealt with better in his past music, but there’s no one I wouldn’t recommend it to.