More of the Same from Thievery Corporation
“This is so generic,” my wife said about a minute into Thievery Corporation’s new album, Culture of Fear. The song was “Web of Deception,” a groovy if forgettable track that introduces this chill-out album. And yes, she was right. The album does not provide anything musically that we haven’t heard before. There are no Radiohead-style innovations that will take us several years to understand. But isn’t the point of this music to put the listener into a certain mood?
After repeated listening, the album does succeed in producing the desired effect of a thoughtful, socially conscious, responsible and laid-back state of mind. “Why can’t we see/ How they always will deceive?” a female vocalist sings on the first track. “All that they weave/ Is a web of deceit,” she continues, and this sets up the mood of political awareness that permeates the album.
While Culture of Fear has thematic consistency, it does not try to be the next Dark Side of the Moon, Sergeant Pepper’s, or any other musically groundbreaking album. It effortlessly glides through the realms of chilling-out, including the Chomsky-inspired rapping on the title track, “Culture of Fear,” the pleasantly melodic “Take my Soul,” the spacey instrumental “Light Flares,” and several reggae and dub-influenced tracks (“Stargazer” and “Overstand”).
Culture of Fear easily accomplishes its mission: to create a mood of mellow awareness and to stimulate thought. And that can’t be a bad thing, if that’s the kind of trip you’re looking for.