It was a glorious delight to have LCD Soundsystem back together and playing literally every festival known to man last summer, but the wait for new music has been one we’ve endured impatiently. Last month, there was a glimmer of hope when James Murphy and his gang of disco-punk geniuses previewed new tracks across a series of shows at New York’s newest venue, Brooklyn Steel, and confirmed an appearance on SNL.
Now, the day has finally arrived and, seemingly as a little reward for hanging in there, they’ve given us not one but two brand spanking new songs. If you were one of the lucky ones at Brooklyn Steel, you’ll have heard them already, but for everyone else ‘Call The Police’ and ‘American Dream’ are here for you to feast on at long last. Spoiler alert: they’re everything you’d want them to be and more. The songs are being released at midnight in local time wherever you are, which means those lucky buggers in Australia got them first. If you were tuned into Beats 1 earlier, you would have caught Zane Lowe giving them a spin too.
‘Call The Police’ is the longer of the two (just, both are sprawling masterpieces that go beyond the six-minute mark), a track that shares the galactic explorer feel of some of Bowie‘s finest work (think ‘Moonage Daydream’) and sounds it like it comes from the same place as the band’s own classic ‘All My Friends’. It’s bright and breezy, full of shiny, rippling synths, polished guitar lines, heavenly “ba-ba-bahs” and a constantly revolving bassline that drives the whole thing.
Lyrically, however, Murphy seems to be tackling things a little darker. “We don’t waste time with love/It’s just death from above,” he sings at one point, while the verses could easily be interpreted to be about the political unrest across the world, but specifically America. There are plenty of references to rebellion and monsters, while the third verse immediately conjures the image of a certain someone and the protests around his actions: “The old guys are frightened and frightening to behold/The kids come out fighting and still doing what they’re told.”
‘American Dream’, meanwhile, is a gorgeous waltz that is set to be LCD’s latest tearjerker, almost on par with the emotional tug of ‘New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down’. Murphy’s lyrical prowess really comes into its own here, lines like “He was leather and you were screaming” and “You just sunk in self-reservation/Versus someone else’s pain” both delivering knockout blows against the bass-y synth buzz.
Really, this song is about relationships and the constant feeling that there’s something better out there. “So you kiss and you clutch, but you can’t fight the feeling/That your one true love is just awaiting your big meeting,” Murphy observes as the music rises in urgency, its twinkles drowned out by an insistent, shrill melody. “So you never even asked for names/You just look right through them as if you already came.” It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and a damning indictment of modern romance.
If you’re thinking two new tracks means a full album soon, you might want to prepare yourself for another little wait. In a Facebook post, Murphy said there was still one vocal and two mixes to go before it was finished and he wants a vinyl version to be ready for the day of release, meaning the band have less control over when the record can come out. However, he also wrote that it was “one of the most enjoyable records to make in my life, if not the most fun ever” so that’s a positive. Another massive plus point? ‘Call The Police’ and ‘American Dream’ hint that this could be the best album LCD Soundsystem have ever put out. Waiting a little while longer for that will surely be worth it.