Do It Again
The Salmon Dance
en: We Are the Night [info]
Listening to the latest Chemical Brothers album is a dispiriting experience not a million miles from following the fortunes of England's national football team.
Watching England play used to be exciting and rewarding. Punters could be assured of high standards and were almost always certain there were moments of brilliance on the way. Now everyone else has caught up but England haven't improved.
The Chems have influenced massive swathes of modern music and particularly the UK's dance scene, but now it's difficult to be anything but apathetic.
Pop down the shop for a pie and you'll practically get knocked over by a beat and bass disciple running back to their studio to work on a new loop. Simian, Calvin Harris, Dizzee Rascal and Groove Armada are all churning out high quality albums right across the genre and that's before factoring in the likes of New Young Pony Club who straddle the indie/dance divide.
This being Tom and Ed Chemical (their real surnames are far too dull), WATN is not an unmitigated disaster.
The title track remarkably sounds like stars exploding and towards the end of the record are three ace tunes in a row. "Burst Generator", where synths explode into coruscating My Bloody Valentine waves of sound, is clearly this LP's answer to "The Sunshine Underground" from the duo's far superior Surrender album. But it remains to be seen if a band will name themselves after …"Generator".
Immediately after this "A Modern Midnight Conversation" is much better than its shocking sixth-form art project title suggests and is almost 2007's "I Feel Love". Giorgio Moroder would surely love the bassline. Finally, "Battle Scars" is a pleasing set of aural contrasts with gentle piano samples working well with a spoken poem and crisp breakbeats.
This top trio aside, WATN is something of an embarrassment for a pair that were masters of their art. Klaxons collaboration "All Rights Reversed" takes the worst of both bands and shunts them together, "Do It Again" is a sexless and joyless Kelis parody, "The Salmon Dance" is only slightly less annoying than getting hit by one in the face and "Saturated" is the sort of timid trance-edged guff that gives deep house a bad name.
Sadly, We Are The Night is only slightly less disappointing than an early and feeble World Cup exit.