Every now and then, the public is presented with a cosmic-nautilus
pop fiesta furnished by The Chemical Brothers duo of Tom
Rowlands and Ed Simons. Their latest outing, We Are
The Night, produced by the duo, features the metallic hues of
Willie Mason, the melodic electro-pop flights of Klaxons,
the sonic light show of Lightspeed Champion, the hip hop vocalise
of Fatlip, and the harmonic swooning of Midlake's Tim
Smith. Not unusual, the sonic sprigs have a sci-fi tint and the
electronica scepters have a galactic aura. The futuristic bleeps and
electro wave forms have similarities to Moby, The Junior
Boys, and Kraftwerk, but show a hint of something different
from the garden variety of techno-pop glam.
There isn't one solid frame that The Chemical Brothers abide by on
this album. They go in different directions, from industrial sounding
electronics to a funky hip hop style to a sipping folksy stride. It
is an album filled with a multitude of special effects and laser-like
sound waves which are fascinating for a general crowd but not necessarily
an album that gets intimate with fans and touches their soul in a
soundtrack-to-their-lives type of way . The album has entertainment
value in the way that The Blue Man Group does. It is music
that you totally expect to hear played in the cosmos and by alien
creatures if you ever come into contact with one.
The album opens with a prelude of industrial sounding electronics
and metallic crunching, some of which are provided by Willy Mason.
The robotic lingo and sci-fi planks on "We Are The Night"
have similarities to Kraftwerk while the melodic coloring of the techno-pop
wave forms on "All Rights Reversed" show a progressive pop
knotting similar to Andrei Lanes. Klaxons appear on this track
providing the melody's exigencies as The Chemical Brothers spike it
with space-age laser shots. The trance-like electrodes and sonic bleeps
on "Saturate" create bouncing balls of sound waves and shooting
rays augmented by blasts of slicing impulses. It is like one of the
purest forms of electronica you can come across.
The acid pop kernels and club beats on "Do It Again" are
complimented by Ali Love's buttery vocal glides, which are
followed by a rush of cosmic soundscapes on "Das Spiegel",
propagating dancing bubbles of sounds and electro impulses with a
sci-fi tint. In movies, it would be the language that is spoken by
alien creatures and frequencies that the cosmos converse with in a
very friendly manner. "The Salmon Dance" is like a techno-hip
hop version of "The Electric Slide." Fatlip provides the
vocals and, aside from an occasional expletive, he has a childlike
way about giving out instructions along the futuristic verses. The
slips of digital sprays, robotic beats and laser streaks on "Burst
Generator" are bolted to chutes of rocket ship lift offs. Consequently,
"A Modern Midnight Conversation" has more earthbound sounds
with vibrations that are relatable to spoon clapping and distorted
horn throbs. The album then moves into harmonious pieces with the
deep throated vocals of "Battle Scars" inserted into a series
of clopping beats and melodic electronica scepters while "Harpoons"
sounds like a cosmic sunset. The notes have a freshness and a new
air feel as verses begin to sprout and sound waves come alive. The
final track "The Pills Won't Help You Now" is a cool electro-pop
sonic spritz of glistening tones as Midlake's Tim Smith's vocals weave
through the clairvoyant channels milling around playfully.
The Chemical Brothers album We Are The Night has a futuristic
appeal with techno-pop hems, robotic beats, and special effects that
are out of this world. Their cosmic-pop soundscapes are melodic and
move from rapid bouncing beats to slow slipping notes through the
verses. It's music that sounds like inter-galactic conversations.
The duo is set for a few concert dates in the Fall of 2007 but anything
can happen with an album like this.
- Susan Frances
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