The DJ duo’s latest, the expert and solid “Culture of Fear,” follows a familiar pattern, draping mainstream club sounds over its standard bedrock of lounge and smooth fusion beats.
It’s immaculate, if unsurprising: Blissful trance that isn’t too trance-y? Check. Region-non-specific world beat? Check. Stevie Wonder funk, excessively chilled? Check and check.
“Culture of Fear” is nominally less political than Thievery Corps’ last disc, the fin de Bush era “Radio Retaliation,” although in both subject and sound, it works many of the same themes. The title track features Mr. Lif, an emcee from Boston who ventures a few wan pronouncements about terrorism alert levels (“It seems to me like they want us to be afraid/Or maybe we just like being afraid”) over a groove too cheery to evoke the necessary menace its title requires.