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MOBY - Last Night   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Saturday, 29 March 2008

Dance music made by and for people who don't dance anymore..

Mobys 8th official LP, Last Night, is apparently a love letter to the long lost disco days of ancient New York - echoing and aping the halcyon years. In some respects, its a nostalgic recreation of an age that never honestly existed, except in the rose tinted glasses of hazy recollection and half-formed memory, a retrofitted perfect past. Oh, we can dance about it now - but at the time it was terrible.

Ultimately, Last Night is an artistic failure : an attempt to create dance music made by and for people who dont dance anymore. I cant realistically imagine any of these songs played in a nightclub. Like bands of a certain pedigree, this material has fundamentally lost its connection to the source material and the source activity and become, to a certain extent, an imitation of what it could be. The disco music contained in the first two thirds of the record is fundamentally unconvincing, asinine, dilute. Like the weaker parts of his previous LPs - most obviously Very from 2005s Hotel album - the whole of Last Night is characterless, lacking in personality, generic, and anonymous. Whilst, to a certain extent its recognisably Moby : his trademark chords and choral synth sounds dominate the record, and the vocal melodies sound very much as if he wrote them, the record falls desperately short. Being the first LP Moby has made comprising entirely of guest vocalists, the central character that made previous albums compelling - Mobys vocal presence, limited in scope and convincing in versimilitude, is absent - replaced instead by a generic string of divas who communicate like stage actors, emoting and squealing and wailing, but with the emotional honesty of a bad TV actor. They could be singing the ingredients for baking powder for all the emotion this shallow record evokes within me. And, after several identikit (and nearly identically arranged and paced) disco frenzy numbers, the album starts to become an artistic desert : lacking in variation and distinguishing features. Endless miles of the same view start to bore.

Its only by the final third of the album, where Moby breaks from the tedious mould and begins to populate the record with the slower paced, majestically arranged soundscapes that bear and reward repeated listening, that Last Night starts to exhibit anything other than a repetitive, almost hypnotic-through-boredom tedium. The final four or five songs are too little, and too late, to rescue Last Night from being an emotionally flat nothingness. Thankfully though, they do provide some worth to the record.

Overall, Last Night is sadly a crushing disappointment by any standards : an unsuccessful attempt to create a dance album, a set of boring and featureless songs swamped in generic and boring production, and lacking in any of the compelling factors that make albums worth repeated listening. Its a great shame that Last Night is Mobys worst official album yet : he can, and has, done so much better in the past.


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