Thievery Corporation has always been a bit of a musical Janus: one face obscured in the revolutionary stylings of Subcommandante Marcos, the other the visage of one of the most commercially successful acts in their scene. Their lyrics and album art all call for an end to the economic slavery of the international monetary system. Yet, they’ll still cash a hefty check from Fox for their contribution to the Garden State soundtrack. Never mind that at any given moment, at least one Starbucks and/or four-star restaurant in the country is playing one of their songs. Yet, they were a huge shot in the arm for the lounge and electronica scene, which at their beginnings in ’95 seemed to be merely a passing fad. Even now, after being more or less co-opted into the American mainstream, they still manage to make legitimately well-crafted music.
Perhaps in a bid to remind us all that they’re not just “those guys on the Garden State soundtrack”, It Takes a Thief seeks to not only encapsulate the group’s score long career, but to showcase their continual evolution. To top it all off, they’ve put it all in one truly cherry package for vinyl lovers and DJs: four colored LPs with a Thievery Corporation slipmat, all wrapped up in a huge fold-out poster. What’s most striking though, is the order of song choices.
Rather than giving us a chronologically linear tour through their career from beginning to end, Thievery Corporation juxtaposes songs from opposite ends of their career, for example pairing “Amerimaka” from 2005’s the Cosmic Game and “Lebanese Blonde” from 2000’s the Mirror Conspiracy. The result is a sense that even though the band’s worn nearly every musical hat, they’ve always been more or less the same at the core.
With no signs of their older albums being re-issued and a new album, Culture of Fear, on the way this year, It Takes a Thief is perhaps just enough to fill the void until either the former or latter happens.
7.5 / 10
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