The Crystal Method / Divided By Night (Tiny e)

One thing TCM has always been good at is seamlessly blending eclectic styles while maintaining their own distinct vibe. And that’s what they’ve done once again on their latest, which comes five years after their rocktronica classic Legion of Boom.

Their solid foundation of breakbeats, after-hours rocking big beats, rock, and old school hip-hop remains in place. But this time out, they incorporate elements of indie and electro, inviting in Joy Division’s Peter Hook on the somberly psychedelic “Dirty Thirty” and “Blunts and Robots, and She Wants Revenge’s Justin Warfield on the Britpop-ish “Kling to the Wreckage.” But lest anyone accuse them of chasing the indie/electro trend, the disc’s first single, “Drown in the Now,” is a trippy club banger featuring Hasidic hip-hop phenom Matisyahu. And “Smile” is a classic TCM synth-and-breakbeat slammer, with touches of trance and house. And therein lies the beauty of TCM: they’re too talented and experienced to let themselves put out a garbage dump of ripoff tracks. Instead, they’ve brought in a team of like-minded vocalists and musicians to add a fresh edge to their distinct thump. And whatever the style, their knack for addictive digital melodies and big hooks remains a potent drug.

Dave Wedge
File under: The Chemical Brothers, Steve Aoki, Junkie XL