They’re definitely losing their edge.
With his just-rolled-out-of-bed look, unique mix of sounds and artistic approach to performing, Murphy and co. blew up in the underground NYC music scene. Through LCD Soundsystem and his production work for the DFA record label, Murphy quickly became the king of indie music in the early 2000s.
But with the return of LCD Soundsystem, something has changed. Murphy once said he wanted to keep the LCD Soundsystem project small. But their reunion has offered nothing but huge exclusive shows with expensive tickets that sell out impossibly quick. Has LCD Soundsystem lost touch? Has the worry expressed in their most popular song come to pass? Have they, in fact, lost their edge?
After growing to high indie-pop status, in 2011 the group announced their last show ever was going to be at Madison Square Garden on February 8. It was a once in a lifetime event. Rumors started to appear on the internet that several other famous indie bands that blossomed from that same underground scene were going to make an appearance, groups like Daft Punk and Arcade Fire.
Murphy told Pitchfork that LCD Soundsystem had just gotten bigger than he had ever planned or wanted. “Not that I’m against it,” he explains. “But I don’t want to get bigger.”
That statement solidified Murphy’s title as a most beloved king of indie music. He would stick it to the man forever, just like the scene wanted. The last show was indeed larger-than-life. Madison Square Garden was packed for a non-stop three-hour show, complete with a thousand-balloon drop, guest musician appearances (yes, Arcade Fire was there), a crowd that danced themselves clean and a raging after-party at The Roxy Hotel in Tribeca with a legendary guest list.
Fast-forward to 2016 when Murphy announces an LCD Soundsystem reunion. Though it was difficult to imagine a return after such an extravagant departure, fans were still ecstatic.
One longtime fan tells BTRtoday that she feels they’re being excessive. “It makes their comeback a little ridiculous,” she says. “But I’m not going to be upset by the fact that they decided to get back together—there’s always the chance they come out with a banger.”
Another longtime fan didn’t seem so optimistic. “It’s one thing to say you’re done and then come back, it’s another to make a full-length movie about it,” he says. “Also, that last B-Side is so bleh.”
BTRtoday chatted with the tour manager from their “last tour” in 2011, Keith Anderson, about the group’s comeback. “It’s not that any band is a blow to the scene they came from—most often it’s our perception and it’s not LCD’s fault that time moved us to a different place,” Anderson says. “That Madison Square Garden gig for example, was amazing, but if you put everyone back on that stage, in front of every person who was there six years ago, it would not feel the same. You love a moment in time as much as the experience in that moment—you can’t separate the two.”
Anderson says LCD Soundsystem has changed, but that it’s not necessarily a bad thing. “A band and their fans move on, but certain memories are locked in time and it’s never the same again,” he says. “I think a lot of young musicians when they get older, even if they said, ‘I’m not going to reform my band,’ play again. What else can they do?”
This May, Murphy announced that their newest album was “nearly finished,” but the album won’t be released until Sept 1. This will be their first album in seven years. They’ve already released two singles from it, “Call The Police” and “American Dream.” They are currently touring, hitting up several big music festivals around the US and playing Saturday Night Live.
The singles have gotten mixed reviews. The media has praised the new songs, while fans have expressed empathy. “I’m pumped that they got back together,” a fan tells BTRtoday. “But I am sad that I didn’t really care for either new song.”
The singles are very much in the group’s typical style of futuristic beats and synths over classic rock ‘n’ roll vocals. Is it that LCD Soundsystem is sticking to what they know best to make a hit? Or is it just still like the good ole’ days in their hearts?