Every Night It’s Last Night
In a move darn near resembling career resurrection, Moby turns 180 degrees away from the career path of a singing, instrument-playing indie rocker. His new album Last Night may not fully recapture his house music glory days but nevertheless reminds him and his listeners of their existence.
Devout electronica fans’ beef with Moby can’t be completely grounded in his pulling back the curtain on an insular genre, raising awareness of it up to arena-rock levels. They do have the right to complain about how he’s done it lately, his angsty rock star gimmick dulling the hard edge of beats and beeps until they merged with the background (as with the muddy 18 and the widely-licensed Play) or disappeared completely (as on Animal Rights and Hotel).
On Last Night he vocalizes the fuzzy refrains and distant shouts that marked his early techno, smartly leaving all other lyrics to old-school rappers (“Alice”), clips from disembodied divas (“Live for Tomorrow”), and sometimes both at once (“I Love to Move in Here”). Thankfully, Moby also pretty much stows his band equipment in favor of keyboards and sequencers. “Hyenas” and “Ooh Yeah” in particular are electro-pop numbers with the lightest of guitar backing, referencing if not besting the high points of his V2 Records catalog.
The remainder of the album finds Moby rediscovering his role as techno’s everyman. The soft textures he first collected on Ambient dominate the rear of Last Night, ranging from the industrial-tinged “Degenerates” to a smooth-jazz hidden track. The aptly-titled “Disco Lies” could be remixed into gay club gold, while “The Stars” and “257.Zero” recall his pounding sampledelica. Moby’s album concept of one New York night’s worth of dance music makes you wish he would take to heart the vacuum-cleaner synths, soulful screams and title of “Everyday It’s 1989” and make this stuff everyday, not every few years.