Less than five years after their split, LCD Soundsystem made a grandiose return with their fourth studio set. American Dream arrived to much critical fanfare and became the group's first No. 1 on the Billboard 200, shifting 85,000 equivalent units. While the Recording Academy does not hang their hat on commercial success alone, it certainly doesn't hurt. Thankfully, frontman James Murphy, Al Doyle, Nancy Whang, Gavin Russom, Tyler Pope and Pat Mahoney struck a delicate balance between artistic achievement and wide appeal, while also pushing the boundaries of their craft in noticeable ways. Thus, they snagged a nomination for Best Alternative Music Album for the 2018 Grammy Awards. Elsewhere, "Tonite" landed a nod for Best Dance Recording.
In an interview with Uncut, Murphy dove into his "cerebral" nature and how it related to where the album veered and its musical ambition. "I do a lot of thinking and reasoning about things. But the decision-making matrix I have for the band is almost entirely gut. It’s weird for me to say, because I don’t think like that, I don’t value people’s gut too much," he mused. "But listening to the records and figuring out what goes on is always a gut thing – like, ‘Oh, we need this one, that one needs to be on there.’ The order is always just gut, what naturally seems to come next. My gut instincts are strong, but they’re not always accessible to me, which is why I like DJing, because you don’t have time and you have to go on instinct." That instinct plays out handsomely and energetically across a meager 10 tracks, such moments as "Call the Police," "Emotional Haircut" and "Back Screen" among their finest compositions.
The outfit's future is murky ⎯⎯ will they, once again, disband for outside ventures, leaving fans exasperated (again)? Or is their newfound success the glue to hold them together for good? In the here and now, they are marksman. American Dream feels as much a 2017 record as a timeless one, destined to be remembered for decades to come.