Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Chemical Brothers: We Are The Night


This title of The Chemical Brothers' sixth full album (not counting DJ mixes) is surprisingly apt, because boy, does the duo sound tired. We Are The Night is the most listless album they've made—and maybe not coincidentally, it's also one of the lightest. It's probably a good idea for Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons to leaven their era-defining heavy-hitting breakbeats and blaring riffs, and in truth, the best stuff on the more recent Chems albums has usually been the prettiest—see the sublime "Star Guitar" from 2002's Come With Us. But too often on Night, those touches turn tedious, as with the title song's synth twinkles, or the overly cutesy electro-gurgles and recorders that turn "Das Spiegel" into an aural evocation of the Teletubbies meeting the Ewoks on the Planet Of Cotton. The call-and-response keyboard plinks of "Saturate," which sounds like third-rate Four Tet, doesn't help. Nor do the guest vocalists: The Pharcyde's Fatlip walks through the radioactive SpongeBob redux "The Salmon Dance," while on "Battle Scars," Willy Mason again raises the question of why the Brothers keep adopting nondescript folkies. The album's last song is "The Pills Won't Help You Now." Too true.

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