Like James Bond returning to England, the slick and stylish duo of Eric Hilton and Rob Garza return to our nation's capital to unleash a soundtrack of hope and truth, this time focused on another region in peril: their own backyard.
As the opening track 'Web Of Deception' begins you can almost picture a black 1976 Gran Torino pull up outside the Eighteenth Street Lounge in Washington DC. The doors open slowly and two gentlemen in dapper suits, dark shades, and briefcases get out, they both turn to the pulsing cities nighttime profile, settling on the elegantly lit Capitol building and shake their heads in unison before silently striding into the club to get to work.
After 16 years and 6 full length albums, as well as running one of the most successful independent labels in the world (ESL Music), Thievery Corporation are no strangers to the craft of enlightening and educating their listeners through music about the cultures and politics of the world around us. Their newest offering, Culture of Fear, is no different and has them once again planting their two fingers on the pulse of the turbulent way of the world at the moment, starting with the drifting lyrics in the intro that sing the question, "Why can't they see that they always will deceive, all that they weave is a web of deceit." If that doesn't open your ears to the tone they are setting then the title track that drops next and features Def Jux recording artist Mr. Lif surely will when he starts the cut off with the grievance, "Seems to me like they want us to be afraid, man, or maybe we just like being afraid. Maybe we just so used to it at this point that it's just a part of us, part of our culture.", before launching into a flow that questions elitism, spying through smart phones, credit card companies, and the IRS over Thievery's smooth grooves. Trusting that you are on their path, the duo dip into their reggae/dub/revolution sound that they have mastered over the years to spread a message of religious equality in Overstand, letting you know that people of different faiths or no faith can still hang out and be friends and don't have to hate or go to war, cementing this ideal with the False Flag Dub cut that reminds you to "Keep your vision clear now..." over a dubwise thump.
Not to say that the Thievery boys are all about tinted windows, clicking hidden camera's and censored documents all the time; always present is a defined balance on their albums and much like Bond heading down to the pool for a martini between bouts of espionage, they too are serving up a side of chill to give you a chance to breathe through the Fear. Persian singer LouLou marries her sultry vocals to the track Take My Soul, while Shana Halligan brings a backroom trip-hop sound to Is It Over? with her smokey voice. Both dance beautifully with instrumentals like Light Flares and the super breezy Fragments, which is almost begging you to join it in a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. As you stand on the cliffs, contemplating the sunset at the end of your drive and this musically journey, you are surrounded by the final track on the album simply titled Free, a balance between the smooth beats of Thievery and the stern message that you should always fight to be free from vocalist Sylvia Bernice Eberhardt. When the last notes play you can almost hear the doors shut on the Gran Torino as it glides off into the night, but you are left with a calm about the storm and a sense of knowing that you have two dark strangers in your corner to help guide you through these times and this Culture of Fear.
If you have your passport and want to take more trips with the Thievery Corporation make sure to bring your Library card and place holds on these titles as well...Radio Retaliation, The Mirror Conspiracy, The Richest Man in Babylon and their remixes album, Versions .