I'm not really sure what it is about these guys that got both critics and music fans in such a tizzy in the late '90s. Yeah, they make energetic dance music that has elements of rock. So what? So do about a hundred other dance/rock hybrids. The Chemical Brothers are a band that mastered the lowest common denominator of both rock and electronica, but never excelled at either genre.
My opinion is not held by many people, though. Since I haven't listened to anything the band has released since Surrender came out in '99, I figure it's time to see if there's a bit more chemistry between my ears and their sound.
The production is very good, but We Are The Night is dull. The band still knows how to rock, but they don't go in that direction very often. (When they do, they rock in a very safe and commercial way... kind of like the Foo Fighters.) Most of the music is the safe, light, middle-of-the-road electronica that I've come to expect from groups like Air. "Do It Again" is my favorite track on the album, but it sounds like it could've been on pretty much any Felix Da Housecat 12" from the past five years (which has hardly been Mr. Housecat's best period).
Eh. The constellation motif is kind of neat, and the mountain motif is kind of neat, and the hand motif is kind of neat, yet it's all kind of boring. As with the music, there's just not enough here to hold my attention.
Listen if you like: Easy-to-digest dance music like Air. Those of you who miss Pharcyde should like "The Salmon Dance" (which features vocalist Fatlip), but the song sticks out like a sore thumb. Fans of the sound that made The Chemical Brothers famous won't find much here.
If it were food, it'd be: Campbell's soup. Its watered-down taste appeals to the masses but is utterly uninspired.