Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Review of LCD Soundsystem’s London Sessions
Ruvan WijesooriyaThough James Murphy warned us even before This Is Happening was released last Spring, the LCD Soundsystem victory lap has run for so long and through so many gigs that the idea that the band as we know it is coming to an end in a little over a month – at a final Madison Square Garden show will apparently be attended solely by scalpers – is a bit surreal. But anyone thinking that that final LP was the last word from the band should definitely look for the London Sessions live postscript released digitally late last year and physically this year.
Recorded last Summer at south London’s Pool/Miloco Studios, the hour-long Peel Session-ish document functions both as a live album and best-of compilation. It captures the band sounding tight, lean and pretty much the peak of their live powers while running through a pretty good selection of their most essential tracks, adding occasional embellishments like the Joy Division-ish guitar parts on “All My Friends” and Murphy’s hilarious ad-libbed lyrics on “Pow Pow”, but largely staying true to the originals.
But rather than make London Sessions redundant, this faithfulness makes it all the more essential – those who only know the band from the albums might well assume that they’re a largely studio creation, but those who’ve had the privilege of experiencing them in a live setting know that they’re all hellaciously good musicians and Murphy is a completely riveting frontman, even though objectively speaking he doesn’t do much on stage. Even though there’s not the crowd noises and interaction you’d typically get from a live album, there’s still plenty of live-wire energy captured and the fact that the band are doing this off the floor – there are presumably no overdubs – makes London Sessions almost as essential a component of the LCD discography as anything else they’ve done.
Video: Ra Ra Riot – “Too Dramatic”