Monday, August 06, 2007

CD Review: We Are The Night by The Chemical Brothers

“There's no path to follow” are the first words heard on We Are The Night, the new album from The Chemical Brothers. Those words certainly describe the duo's newest release. We Are The Night floats on spacey textures, stellar guest stars, and quite a bit of variety.

There are many wonderful songs to be found on this album. The title track bursts with tinkly synths, a driving beat lurking in the background, and eerie, sometimes unintelligible vocals. It's immensely danceable and hooks you all the way to the end. “Saturate” builds a simple melody into electronic bliss without overstaying its welcome. A strong 1980's vibe runs through “A Modern Midnight Conversation” and the vocal sample is so perfectly chosen that I thought the song was a collaboration at first.

The collaborations on We Are The Night are among the album's strongest. The one that stands above the rest is “All Rights Reversed,” which features The Klaxons. Haunting background vocals and a clattery beat help make it one of the best tracks on the album. Midlake's Tim Smith provides the vocals for “The Pills Won't Help You Now,” the album's closer. It's a great piece of dreamy, relaxed electropop.

The most unusual track on the album is also a collaboration. Fatlip of The Pharcyde appears on “The Salmon Dance,” a track that you will either love or despise. Featuring a fluttery synth beat that often slows down, “The Salmon Dance” is an odd hybrid. The song begins with Fatlip introducing us to Sammy The Salmon and starts off as a parody/homage to hip-hop “dance” tracks like Digital Underground's “The Humpty Dance.” Then, things get educational as Sammy, with his fuzzy electronic voice, spouts various facts about salmon while Fatlip reacts. Most will skip over this track but I found it to be fun, unique, and rather kitschy.

We Are The Night is another solid album from The Chemical Brothers. It's not exactly the most cohesive album but it also doesn't feel like a bunch of tracks slapped together either. Many of the tracks sound like they come from the same place, even though they are quite different from each other. In some respects, the album feels like a starry night companion to the morning glow of the duo's 1999 release Surrender. Overall, We Are The Night is an enjoyable album no matter what time of day you listen to it.

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