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LCD Soundsystem | Electric Lady Sessions

The dance-rockers deftly sidestep expectations on their latest live outing


LCD Soundsystem have always been full of surprises. In 2011, the Brooklyn dance-punk kings suddenly pulled the plug at the height of their powers and popularity. Then, four years later, they returned just as unexpectedly — and brought along their universally acclaimed and most accomplished fourth disc American Dream, earning their first Grammy. Now they’ve given us the Electric Lady Sessions, recorded live in Jimi Hendrix’s famed Manhattan studio during their 2017 tour. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much: It’s their third live album, after all, and their second live-in-the-studio release. But as usual, LCD deftly sidestep your expectations. The powerfully heavy version of Human League’s Seconds that opens the show is their first smart move. High-calibre versions of American Dream standouts like the award-winning Tonite, Call the Police, Emotional Haircut, Oh Baby, I Used To and the title cut — plus older gems like You Wanted a Hit, Home and Get Innocuous — don’t hurt. Arrangements that give some star time to bandmembers aside from founder, frontman and chief songwriter James Murphy — who plays virtually everything on the band’s studio albums — are a nice touch. Covers of Chic’s mesmerizing disco grooveathon I Want Your Love and Heaven 17’s twitchy (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang ice the cake. Finally, a natural-sounding, fat-free mix that documents and emphasizes the immediacy of the proceedings seals the deal. By the time the lengthy but fast-paced 68-minute set wraps, you’ll be eager for your next chance to see them live. And hoping they surprise us with a new album sooner rather than later.