LCD Soundsystem thrill crowd at first of three sell-out dates at Olympia

James Murphy cheekily reassembled his bittersweet punk-funk troupe a mere five years after an emotional "farewell" concert at Madison Square Garden.

Fears that the re-grouping might be a triumph of sentiment over logic were recently fanned by an underwhelming comeback LP, American Dream – an exercise in hoop-jumping as tepid as its screamingly bland sleeve image of an empty blue sky.

But worries that LCD Soundsystem have returned merely to ruin memories of their glory days were thrillingly laid to rest at the first of three sell-out dates at The Olympia.

With the burly Murphy clearly moved by the crowd’s fervency – he’s a card carrying Irish-American – the seven-piece blazed through catalogue favourites Get Innocuous and I Can Change, the former distinguished by its Kraftwerk-sampling groove and spoken-word outro from keyboard player Nancy Whang.

Murphy (47) is an unlikely pop idol, with a just-out-of-bed haircut and sturdy physique. But his everyman persona conceals a gift for emphatic pop, as demonstrated by the punch-packing Someone Great – a tribute to a late friend that, driven by bassist Tyler Pope, pulls off the Abba trick of being simultaneously carefree and devastating.

As interpreters of other people’s ideas rather than brave innovators, LCD Soundsystem have been criticised for ripping off their heroes.

They were certainly overawed by their idols on the Bowie-esque Call The Police and the Talking Heads-derived Emotional Haircut, two of the new tracks scattered through the setlist.

However, great pop is as much about emotions as inspiration and, as they led the room through a tearful singalong of All My Friends – perhaps the great mid-life crisis anthem of our times – Murphy and and his rag-tag reminded us that their ability to tug at the most cynical heartstrings is undiminished.

****


Lifestyle

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner