After creating the definitive -sonic wallpaper’ album, producing tracks for Britney Spears and sound-tracking more glossy adverts than you could shake a mixer at, where is there left for a platinum-selling, teashop-owning vegan to go? If you’re Moby, you party like it’s 1999.
No doubt gripped by the tepid reception afforded to his organic, but largely forgettable, 2005 opus Hotel, Moby has seemingly decreed that a collection of dance-floor numbers that hark back to his mid-90s, Everything Is Wrong-era heyday is the way forward. Thrown into this bewildering ragout, for starters, is a smattering of smiley-faced rave, a dollop of Euro dance-pop anthems, a smattering of piano-driven house and then a discombobulating pinch of R&B.
Billed ostensibly as a concept album that condenses the moments of an epic night out into 14 tracks, Last Night‘s supposed narrative arc is often lost amid the mild, quiet shock of those obsolete bleeps, loops and samples. The string-drenched -257.zero’ is probably the closest we’ll get to Moby’s familiar, skyscraping fare, while -I Love To Move In Here’ is a prime slab of New York disco-influenced pop. Elsewhere, the robust -Alice’ is driven by a calorie-laden bassline and, deeper into the record, the layered, hazy -Degenerates’ and technicolor -Mothers Of The Night’ bear the hallmarks of Moby’s cinematic bent. Oscillating between uplifting dance and ethereal, opulent balladry, Last Night is the sound of a man in the throes of an exquisite identity crisis.
Interestingly, Moby has already offered a half-hearted disclaimer on his website ahead of the album’s release, offering bribes to reviewers willing to praise the record. This may sound like a man who feels he is about to unleash something of an uncompromising, indulgent dud to the waiting public, but make no mistake; this is an album brimming with intent and self-assurance.