Listen to this article
The dance floor can be a lonely place. Sometimes it is not all hands-in-the-air happiness and gurning bonhomie. There are moments when one wonders “are these people really my mates?” and, if you are the wrong side of 35, like James Murphy, “am I getting too old for this?” Yet a crowd mostly about his age was not unduly troubled by feeling past-it at this boisterous, late-night show. LCD Soundsystem – the New York producer’s solo vehicle, operating here as a six-piece – reassured us with electro-rock as tightly drilled as the indestructible Depeche Mode.
LCD Soundsystem – the New York producer’s solo vehicle, operating here as a six-piece – reassured us with a tightly drilled set, occasionally redolent of electro-rock veterans Depeche Mode.
At its best, though, Sound of Silver, Murphy’s rewarding second album, freeze-frames the anxieties of remaining down with the kids when you have a “face like a dad”. On “All My Friends”, guitars scrape regretfully over a wobbly account of past glories: it could be the Strokes covering New Order several years hence. The title track and “Someone Great” touch the ice core of melancholy that shivers within synth-pop. After the gig peaked with the bang-on-anything-you-can stomp of “Yeah”, an older number, the latter song – held back for the encore – betrayed an ominous bass-shudder under its gentle patter of bleeps.
Twitchily awkward, Murphy is not a natural frontman. Squeezed in between Nancy Whang’s assembly line of keyboards and the barefoot Pat Mahoney’s piston-like drumming, he seems to be jogging in a broom cupboard. When water is spilled, his mop-up job borders on obsessive- compulsive; chances are he keeps a tidy studio.
LCD Soundsystem’s biggest hit to date – the jokey “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” – gets a twangy run-through tonight, yet it is almost superfluous. Sound of Silver is a much more serious proposition. Paul Van Dyk, the trance DJ, claims dancing is inherently political, but Murphy proves, with the scabrous “North American Scum” and other new songs, that it is not obligatory to lose your mind at the disco. I felt self- conscious, in a good way.
Tel +44 20 8963 0940
Be alerted on Life & Arts