New York born vegan and self-proclaimed “simpleton” Richard Melville Hall has recorded his ninth studio offering – he has been around that long and he is forty-two years old now. And by jove, he’s back… back on the dance floor, that is. ‘Last Night’ is fifteen tracks worth of understated 70s glamour, unlike any of Moby’s previous output. Ostensibly based on the concept of “one of those epic nights out”, the imagery is nostalgic – it takes a look at San Francisco, unfussy hip hop and of course, the scene in NYC. It’s intriguing initially, if nothing else.
Beautifully structured and building at a steady pace chronologically, ‘257.zero’ is a perfect example of the way this album gloriously combines syncopated, staccato synth with shrewd beats and an immense underlying groove. ‘Everyday It’s Like 1989’ has a frankly barking looped vocal recalling Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time’, and the origins of rave before it got watered down. ‘Live For Tomorrow’ works to similar effect, but with the addition of a more soulful edge sitting nicely with the ever-optimistic major tonality.
‘Alice’ is the weakest moment on ‘Last Night’, despite being graceful in its comedown – it sounds kind of clammy in comparison with the crispness elsewhere. And ‘I’m In Love’ feels too deliberate in its build-up, despite its delayed high ranging vacuum sounds and oh so dark bass line. ‘Disco Lies’ is a chimerical, euphoric and all the rest, typically all power-diva vocals and Giorgio Moroder sense of allure. ‘Sweet Apocalypse’ is yet more evidence of how the night’s ended too soon, and although it feels like a shame, who can argue with the night’s compere.
Where Hercules and Love Affair and Glass Candy are the ones seen to be bringing the 70s back, have no qualms about Moby. Dismiss the notion that he isn’t cool, because this album is a total surprise package. And despite there being a couple too many poor offerings, the highlights of ‘Last Night’ will quite simply blow your mind.