Like many other artists LCD Soundsystem have been on my "must check them out" list rather than a loved artist, and much to my loss this extraordinary music documentary illustrates what I have been missing out on and , crucially, what I can apparantly no longer have.
Shut Up an Play the Hits, is the musical farewell statement from LCD Soundsystem mainstay,James Murphy as he looks [sincerely it appears], to return to a pre fame lifestyle. Whether this will be achieved as the years wear on, and the offers to reform come in remains in the future but as a musical closing statement this film pretty much says it all. An obvious comparison musically is Talking Heads [ Who's own music film Stop Making Sense still retains its power and influence on Shut Up and Play the Hits], albeit, without David Byrne's sense of drama or the Heads well drilled group ethic. Murphy's crew are just too "normal" for the comparison to be more than superficial.
What Shut Up and Play the Hits does so well is convey the joy and sadness of a band reaching their live peak, and then quitting whilst they are ahead.It becomes easy to have some sympathy with band members who have worked so hard to achieve their success end this phase of their career almost on the whim of their frontman, but the obvious joy of playing such a large venue as Madison Square Garden to a rapturous crowd soon shines through.
The music is fantastic throughout [as touring friends Arcade Fire make an appearance on North American Scum],but most importantly the live footage is engrossing using unusual close ups and angles to catch intimate moments in each of the performers live performances, whilst NOT intercutting every few seconds [ the blight of so many modern music docs], meaning that many live shots remain on their subject for an appropriate length of time thereby giving the viewer much more of a sense of how the band looked on the night.
Shut Up and Play the Hits is an engaging, thoughtful document of a band quitting whilst they are ahead, that is intercut with some intimate after show footage and interviews with James Murphy, where towards the end of the film he states that quitting may be his bands defining moment. Well,time will tell if James Murphy reforms LCD Soundsystem but as a farewell statement Shut Up and Play the Hits is very impressive indeed. Add to the movie, the full live show on 2 extra discs, and you have a package that does justice to LCD Soundsystems short legacy.