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The Chemical Brothers
We Are The Night
Astralwerks Records
www.thechemicalbrothers.com


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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