Following up their 2005 album Push the Button, the Chemical Brothers released We Are The Night on July 17th. I never actually listened to Push The Button, as "Galvanize," the first single, didn't do anything for me. "Do It Again," the lead single off their 6th studio album is actually a lot of fun, though. So when the time came to pick up a new electronic album, I went with the Brothers.
First I must make an interesting departure and point out that both Chemical Brothers album that I've heard have a distinct feel to them. Surrender was very different than most of the music out at that time. The single "Let Forever Be" had an astoundingly trippy video and has continued to come back and comfort me as a nostalgia track. It was very much a "keg party" album, just lots of fun and extremely easy to listen to. Come With Us had a different, more edgy "Hackers 2: Back in the Hack" feel to it, with "Star Guitar" continuing to be one of the most interesting electronic songs to date. And it is coupled with yet another trippy video.
But We Are The Night is a little hard to peg. I mentioned Surrender and Come With Us for a reason, because this latest album feels like a successful pairing of the two worlds of Chemical Brothers music. Blue Man Group reject intro aside, "We Are The Night" starts off the album with a playful amount of glee and a feeling not unlike looking at mounds and mounds of rhinestones (you know, if you're into shiny things). What I'm trying to say is that it would be at home on Surrender. The following track, "All Rights Reversed," is a creepy, hard-hitting techno track that would fit nicely among the tunes on Come With Us. "Saturate" is a great mellow instrumental track that I believe stands on its own outside of the two other albums. And then we have "Do It Again" featuring Ali Love, a repetitive, dark clubby track that also has a new feel to it.
I must say though, that the track that stands out the most continually has me scratching my head. "The Salmon Dance" features Fatlip with a nonsensical rap about trying out a new dance that resembles a salmon floating upstream. Fatlip's friend, Sammy the Salmon, from time to time enlightens us with interesting facts about his "peeps," with Fatlip chiming in with a well-placed "Wow" or "You're kidding me." All of this takes place on top of some great beats. So like I said, I am continually scratching my head with this track. It is immensely imaginative, but also has the most mixed reviews. People with either love it or hate it. I am one of the former, but I wouldn't turn down an instrumental version of the track either.
Summary - We Are The Night isn't their best work. That distinction goes with their 1999 album, Surrender. But it is an extremely engaging listen, utterly Chemical Brothers, and a welcome addition to my music collection. 2007 is a better year for music because of it.
Until next time, may you perfect your salmon dance.