Over a decade has passed since The Chemical Brothers debut that ushered the crossover of electronic music into the rock mainstream. They continue with their musical progression that entices their original fanbase while generating new ones. With over 8 million albums sold, hits like Rock Blockin' Beats, and the ever present music of Galvanize as the music in the Bud Select commercials, The Chemical Brothers have become a ubiquitous presence. With sixth studio album under their belt, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons demonstrate that when it comes to supreme beat-based innovation, inspired collaborations and sheer sonic excellence, the two are unsurpassable.We Are The Night displays a myriad of sounds, rhythms and emotions along with an astounding roster of featured artists. This griping body of work slipsbetween something simply fun like, The Salmon Dance featuring Fatlip of Pharcyde to haunting tracks like Battle Scars sung by Willy Mason. The album would not be complete without a few signature dance anthems including We Are The Night, Burst Generator and Do It Again which will be the first single for the album. Other additional featured artists that appear on the album include the very hot Klaxons, Midlake and Ali Love.
One can never accuse the Chemical Brothers of consistency. We Are the Night
continues their eclectic electronica approach even though the big-beat groove of the title track remains their digital calling card. Spotted with a minimalist keyboard pattern, vocal non sequiturs, and sampled sound effects, the infectious groove of "We Are the Night" eventually evolves into the monotone-chanted dance chorus of "We are the night skies/We are the bright lies," recalling Brian Eno circa Here Come the Warm Jets
. However, for every catchy electro-dance, there's a tune that leaves you scratching your head. What to make of the novelty song "The Salmon Dance" is anybody's guess, though you might find some illumination in a salmon recipe on their Web site. With fractured nursery-rhyme lyrics that are sung like an off-color Sesame Street
rap, it will drive you up the wall--or at least toward the skip button. Then there's Midlake singing the trancey ballad "The Pills Won't Help You Now," making the Chemical Brothers sound like a sci-fi version of Coldplay. Retro-analog synthesizers dominate, with the electro-grooves of "Das Spiegel," "Burst Generator," and "Saturate," which builds on a Kraftwerk-forged metal framework coupled with storming sampled drums. The circuits of '70s techno-pop artist the Normal are re-soldered on "Do It Again." With Ali Love singing the title-track chorus, it's built to be a summertime anthem akin to Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There It Is)," albeit robotically chilled. --John Diliberto