In 2010 when rumours of LCD Soundsystem's impending self-imposed demise first arose, many refused to believe it and it's not hard to understand why. James Murphy's band were at the height of their powers, LCD's third album This Is Happening was to be released imminently and a slew of touring was to follow. LCD Soundsystem couldn't possibly call time after only three albums, could they?
Rock n' roll blueprints suggest that successful bands can only disperse after some sort of tortured tragedy, drug overdose or plane crash but LCD Soundsystem chose a more gradual and measured approach. But then again, the band's first album has a song ('Losing My Edge') which is all about how Murphy feels that he's being overtaken by a younger, hipper generation so, with that in mind, perhaps it's fortunate that we got three outstanding albums out of him before the clock struck midnight. As music scribe Chuck Klosterman asks Murphy during the documentary; "when you start a band, do you imagine how it will end?"
Shut Up And Play The Hits is framed around LCD Soundsystem's last ever gig in Madison Square Garden on April 2nd 2011 and Murphy's attempts to both deal with the weight of the situation on an emotional level and explain his reasoning for calling it quits in the first place. Immaculately shot concert footage is interspersed with footage of Murphy - both before and after the final show - reflecting on the finality of the situation while accepting that a burden is being lifted from his shoulders. A scene where Murphy visits the LCD Soundsystem equipment room the afternoon after the last show to visit the now defunct gear and breaks down into tears is more moving than anything you've seen from Hollywood this year.
This documentary should solidify LCD Soundsystem as one of this era's defining acts, a band whose music was capable of attracting admirers from numerous musical affiliations. While the film is undoubtedly tinged with an element of sadness, the concert footage is so overwhelmingly joyous and fun that it's hard to keep a smile from your face. LCD Soundsystem have left a tremendous legacy behind and Shut Up And Play The Hits will be remembered for what it is - The Last Waltz for the electric generation.