Thievery Corporation has a sixth album out called Culture of Fear. Surprising no one, it’s good. Sadly, though, it doesn’t really push the boundaries.
Culture of Fear kicks off in a psychedelic, bluesy style, only to jump immediately into a Michael Franti-esque critique of Homeland Security fear-mongering, with solid vocals by Mr. Lif on the tune “Culture of Fear.” The album seems to find its steady groove on track three, as it moves into a dreamy set of tunes that would be perfect for a 3am afterparty, starting with the beautifully turgid “Take My Soul,” and including “Light Flares” and “Where It All Starts.” “Tower Seven” picks up increasing urgency, adding an angsty guitar riff, before moving into the evocative “Is It Over?” which recalls old Morcheeba with dreamily downbeat female vocals from Shana Halligan, and “Safar,” which feels like something from an Ibiza Chillout album from the late 90s. Besides the opening two songs, the album takes three notable divergences from its languid path with solid dub tunes “Stargazer,” “False Flag Dub,” and “Overstand.”
Generally, if you like Thievery Corporation’s previous work – or work of Morcheeba, old Massive Attack, or any 1990s era downtempo album, you’ll probably like this. If you have no idea to what I’m referring with the above references, you should check it out.