Who would have predicted this: LCD Soundsystem, a one-man dance music project, has, over the course of five years, evolved into one of the most reliably entertaining live acts in all of music. Performing as a seven-piece, LCD Soundsystem have cut a wide swath on their never-ending tours, hitting Europe and all of North America, with ecstatically reviewed festival dates in between. I’m sure James Murphy never saw that coming, or that LCD Soundsystem, originally the band of killer singles like “Losing My Edge,” would release a live studio album. Yet here we are with London Sessions, a quickie album recorded in-studio while Murphy and his band had a layover between tour stops. This isn’t so much as a live album -- there is no crowd -- as it is a demonstration on how a live band can deconstruct and re-create dance music that was originally created by one man in his apartment in New York.
In that sense, it succeeds greatly. Cuts like “Get Innocuous” and “All My Friends” breathe organically, while “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” is a crushing rocker here. Live set highlight “Yr. City’s a Sucker” transforms from the afterthought it is on LCD Soundsystem into a solid opening salvo. And most positively, “Drunk Girls” is less grating removed from it’s running order on This Is Happening, where it always changes the tone of the album drastically and sticks out like Yao Ming at a little-people conference. Here it’s punky backbeat bleeds seamlessly into the funk of “Daft Punk.”
But like every live album ever, this is pretty much for fans only. A newcomer isn’t going to learn much from coming in this late, and casual observers won’t find anything here they can’t get on LCD Soundsystem’s studio albums. But as Murphy seems content to head into retirement after this touring cycle, he’s entitled to a victory or lap or two. He’s had one of the better runs this decade, and London Sessions does nothing to change that.
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