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The Chemical Brothers “We Are The Night” Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

The Chemical Brothers‘ latest album attempts to build momentum and create its own unique atmosphere, like so much of the duo’s back catalogue has done, but We Are The Night ultimately suffers the same fate as its title track: delivering tons of possibility with little result. “We Are The Night” sounds similar to “Star Guitar,” from the fantastic Come With Us, though it fails to exhibit a triumphant apex; instead building into a soft underdeveloped finale.

Undeniably though at first glance the appeal of the album comes from the slew of marquee guests included in the set such as the Klaxons, Ali Love, Fatlip, Willy Mason and Midlake. Given such a lineup one would think the group impenetrable to failure, but if only that were the case. “All Rights Reserved” lacks the edginess that gives the Klaxons their sound and character, questioning the necessity for collaboration on the track at all. What’s the point of creating a piece of music as a team if one party has to strip itself bare of influence and technique? “Do It Again” finds itself victim of an unfortunate title as Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons fail to create a strong collaboration, again; this time with Ali Love. Love’s contributions come off sounding more like failed electro chic-rock than the danceable joint which it should have been.

Fatlip’s contribution in “The Salmon Dance,” while truer to his style, is still ultimately forgettable. The beat finds itself perfect setting for Fatlip’s school-boy rap, both being simple and disinteresting. Seriously, what’s up Fatlip? The upside to the album includes one of the album’s standout tracks entitled “Saturate.” It’s upbeat rhythm, intermittently burping reverb over starry flickers of sound, introduces a fantastic drum loop that adds an organic presence to the sound. However there’s still a shade of disappearing substance lurking over the song, something that became present within the group’s sound around the time its singles collection was released in 2003.

Recently discussing We Are The Night with a friend we came to the conclusion that there’s really no longer any need for the group to release albums. By this point in time their audience isn’t entirely driven by new material and there is less of a need to continually produce a fresh product by the group than there is with other like acts. That being said they are musicians and there will always be a drive to create, it just seems as though the purpose is now more suited towards their own indulgence than to fantastic material. After all, why not capitalize on your patriarchal position within the music community and invite some fantastic guests to join in on your latest album?

But as a fan there is a sense of retreat through this process as We Are The Night is most definitely not the album that it could have been. The Klaxons collaboration shouldn’t have sounded dull and meaningless and the Midlake set shouldn’t have sounded like Moby’s last two albums. Even if they had fun in the process it’s hard to imagine that the results fit the intent.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]