Album Review: LCD Soundsystem - London Sessions

on Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Words: Kieran Toms

LCD Soundsystem - 'London Sessions' (Release: 9 Nov '10)

These sessions were recorded "live" this summer in South London, just after James Murphy and his gang played Glastonbury. Apparently, until this collection they have not tended to do sessions, in order “to maintain the highest quality of all sonic recordings”. On this showing, such a policy seems a shame as this is a great listen.

This collection contains slightly rough and ready versions of nine of LCD Soundsystem’s songs, spanning all three albums, plus B-side 'Yr City's A Sucker'. They expose a rawness to the band’s sound that normally only appears in a live context. The whole thing at times almost seems like it’s going to fall apart, notably during 'Pow, Pow' where Mr Murphy seems either to forget half his lyrics or at least just decides to disregard them. But even that somehow manages to sound rather cool.

What really stands out here for me is the percussion, the grooves and polyrhythms being that bit more danceable, that bit more fun and funky. These versions are a little more dynamic than the originals, a little more nuanced. Noticeably, here, rather than being merely James Murphy’s random mates, the band do seem like a band, every instrument sounding vital and vibrant, with lovely little synthesizer flourishes here and there that you don’t hear on the records.

Of course, in the end, these are just fairly faithful reproductions of songs people will probably know and love already, and are unlikely to win any new fans. Nevertheless, they are distinct enough to warrant a listen even for the more casual LCD Soundsystem fan.

STREAM: LCD Soundsystem - "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" (London Session)

The 'London Sessions' album is exclusively on sale at iTunes, until 6 December '10. UK users can purchase the album here.

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