- I was asked to review LCD Soundsystem’s 45-minute “single” from the perspective of a ‘non-runner’. Given that the only time I run is when I’ve stolen something and am trying to evade capture, I was quite happy to accept.
James Murphy presented ‘45:33’ as a soundtrack to the perfect run, with all the necessary peaks, troughs and breaks to keep the jogger energized and enthused. The most arduous journey I make in a day, apart from the one from sofa to kitchen, is my 45-minute commute to work, most of which is spent sat on my arse on the tube. How did this self-professed ‘work-out song’ fare as accompaniment?
Well, of the four loose sections which comprise ‘45:33’, it’s the first which is most satisfying. Plaintive piano chords give way to the well-tested LCD live bass and drum chug - laconic disco of the highest order made even more agreeable by Murphy’s oddly soulful vocal contribution. It's just the kind of mid-paced, sweetly life-affirming groove required to see me through the first leg of my journey – that is, from the door of my flat and down the road to the tube station, whether the background be bleaching winter sun, lashing rain or straightforward December bleakness. The second section, which appears, with the addition of vocals, as the track ‘Someone Great’ on forthcoming LP ‘Sound of Silver’, tends to coincide with my escalator descent underground and its sparse but assuredly positive, mellifluous electro shuffle is correspondingly dreamy and mechanical. The tube ride is undoubtedly the worst part of my journey, surrounded as I am by sweaty, miserable office workers like me being shuttled throttled through noisy, black tunnels with deskbound depression as our daily destination. Thank god, then, that the third distinct passage of ‘45:33’ is its most rhythmic and melodious, a glorious swirl of chattering percussion, warm synths and almost absurdly feelgood brass, with Murphy’s heavily-distorted stream of consciousness on the subject of space travel providing the wide-eyed escape from existential dread that a commuter needs, just as I imagine it might provide a runner with distraction from his own bodily fatigue.
By the time I get to work I’m feeling ecstatic, as ‘45:33’ settles into its final, almost congratulatory-sounding stretch. Job done. And not only is this track a supremely functional companion to travel in all its forms, it also, I can assure you, sounds terrific when you’re lying comatose on the sofa barely unable to move your eyelids, let alone your legs. Above all, it’s a truly remarkable piece of music that never once bores in its gargantuan duration. I mean, it’s almost enough to make me want to go running. But not quite.
A 45:33: Nike Original Run