LCD Soundsystem | Pop review

Brixton Academy, London

Having vowed to disband LCD Soundsystem when he turned 40, James Murphy – who reached that milestone in February – is currently on his (presumably) final tour with his perennially acclaimed dance-punk-funk group. Though this show isn't their last hurrah – there are further UK gigs this summer, he tells us more than once – they tackle it with valedictory gusto.

Ostensibly here to promote LCD's third album, This Is Happening, Murphy announces they won't be playing much of it, which is fine with the audience. Our need to hear brand new songs is amply catered for by the handful they do play, of which Drunk Girls, a roaring, punkish dissection of both male and female booziness, and the Latin stomp Pow Pow, are terrific.

Murphy is a songwriter/producer who has risen above his vocal limitations to also sing, and his lack of proficiency is part of the reason LCD punch so hard and heavy tonight. The other six members may do all the heavy lifting, deftly slamming home rhythm after propulsive rhythm, but it's Murphy's in-your-face barking that sells the songs. The subtleties of his lyrics – the self-deprecation and archness – are lost in the melee, but he's a compelling cheerleader, getting hoarse and sweaty as he chants the staccato choruses to Us v Them (played twice at his insistence) and Yr City's a Sucker. Without him, LCD would be as tight as the sharpest funk band; with him – and now he's banging a cowbell on a euphoric Daft Punk Is Playing at My House – they are stars.

Only on Losing My Edge, LCD's career-best rumination on the horror of becoming irrelevant, can you hear all the words, presumably because he wants them heard. "I'm losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when I get on the decks, but I was there, I was there."


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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