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on 10 September 2011
I didn't like this album at all at first - I've been a big Thievery fan from the beginning but on first listen, this sounded like a bunch of rejected tracks that hadn't made it onto previous albums - the same low-key bass, the same breathy vocals from Lou Lou, the same cod-reggae, the same "THIEVERY CAAARPARAYSHAAN!" sample (how many times??)

But with subsequent listens, the subtle variations they've made to their sound come through - and subtle they are, in no way making the bold creative steps that feature on the Mirror Conspiracy and Richest Man in Babylon albums.

Thievery aren't breaking new ground here as has been said in other reviews - they have their own template and are sticking rigidly to it - but in spite of its sameness, I still think this is a leaner and better effort than Radio Retaliation, which suffered from too many weak tracks and its sometimes less-than-successful attempts at world music fusion.

For newcomers, this is an OK intro to Thievery but you'd be better off listening to their first three efforts.
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on 10 July 2011
When Eric Hilton and Rob Garza came together to form Thievery Corporation in 1995, the two Washington D.C.-based musicians and DJs were breaking new ground. Taking inspiration from British trip-hop artists like Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead, Thievery Corporation successfully combined downtempo electronica grooves with reggae and R&B sounds to create songs that were both musically challenging and great to dance to.
In addition, more than any other band since U2, Hilton and Garza have always written lyrics that reflected the duo's radical politics while still maintaining a groove that makes their missives palatable.
"Culture of Fear" is Thievery Corporation's sixth album, and the collective's old fans will likely find a lot to enjoy on it.
Their trademark mixture of real instruments, electronic textures and phrases that encapsulate everything from Brazilian bossa nova to old-school Jamaican dub are solidly intact.
The juxtaposition of grooves is still profound and disturbing when it needs to be and light and dreamy when the going gets tough, but repeated plays of the new disc also reveal a band in a holding pattern.
And, while that's not necessarily a bad thing -- if something isn't broken, why fix it? -- there is sometimes a creeping sense of sameness to the tracks on the new album that has never been present before.
The title track is by far the best song on the album. Voiced by hip-hop artist Mr. Lif, the song encapsulates all of the politics and justifiable paranoia that have been Thievery Corporation's stock and trade from the outset. It is a crucial, cutting edge song that is, by itself, reason enough to buy the album. Still, one wishes that the rest of the songs lived up to the high bar set by Mr. Lif. But sadly for the most part, the remainder of the tracks, even though they are uniformly well produced and sung, fail to generate much excitement or interest.
This isn't to say that "Culture of Fear" is a bad album. There is some great guitar work from Frederico Aubele and Robbie Myers that gives some dimension and immediacy to the electronic sounds. TC regular LouLou Ghelichkhani adds some lovely vocals, but even her silken voice can't take songs such as "Where it all Starts" beyond the predictable boundaries the duo charted years ago.
Similarly, rising Nigerian superstar "Sleepy Wonder" contributes some very impassioned vocals to "Star Gazer", but it's not enough to shake the feeling of having heard it all before.
At their best, Thievery Corporation created a true cultural melting pot of sounds. Their music never came off as gimmicky when they plundered West African or Indian classical themes. The fluidity and grace they demonstrated on album after album truly set them apart from other musicians working in the electronica field.
Collaborations with the best artists in world and alternative music -- including Femi Kuti, Anoushka Shankar, Perry Farrell and David Byrneel - evated Thievery Corporation to a level of musical integrity that few electronic musicians have ever achieved, much less maintained throughout their careers.
In the end, "Culture of Fear" is a good album, but it doesn't push any boundaries or claim any new ground.
The burst of the unexpected that was once 'de rigeur' with The Thievery Corporation is sadly missing on this place-keeper of a record. The grooves are still powerful, dense and spiritual, but they don't take the listener anywhere new on this surprise-free record. D Heselgrave
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on 30 July 2011
Personally I love Thievery's previous album - Radio Retaliation - which I listen to almost every day. Culture of Fear is ok, but not my favourite one. I would rate it for three and a half. It is still a good piece of music but it does not make me to fall on my knees and praise.
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on 3 August 2014
Even though Thievery have been going for quite a while now and with a few ups and downs, this album is a good one. It features tracks that are characteristic of the Thievery sound and which are quite pleasing to the ear.

I have to say though that it has just that one track that makes up for everything: Fragments. To me, this is just one of the best tracks Thievery has put out there, if not THE best. As soon as the beam hit that track, I was just gobsmacked; have been listening to it for months and months now and I am still mesmerised when it plays.

Definitely worth a listen and even the purchase - but in all cases, make sure you add 'Fragments' to your music collection.
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on 19 August 2014
Great album great music very varied and some deep funny funny bass. All releases from TC are brilliant.
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on 30 July 2011
This album did not initially grab me as some of their previous albums have, especially track 2, which had a slightly different style than I'm used to from this band. However, the title track grew on me after a few listens, as did the entire album.

Overall, the album has the usual Thievery sound; chilled out beats with regee and other world music influences. The vocals are as good as ever with the usual political messages that we have become used to hearing from these guys.

I originally gave this album 4 stars, but it grew on me to the point where I now give it equal place with Radio Retaliation and Richest Man in Babylon. This album will appeal to fans and music lovers alike.
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on 15 May 2015
Pleased with item and prompt service
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on 27 June 2011
A return to form at last. Buy it, you won't be disappointed, especially if you like earlier TC albums. I must admit, I did hesitate on buying this one, but pleased I have.
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on 3 July 2011
There is no new ground broken here, but really TC have never really been limit pushers. However they do have their own sound, and Culture of Fear is most definitely their sound at their very best. I have never really been that impressed by their previous albums, a handful of tracks on each, yes, but not the entire album. CoF however is excellent through out, every track. Really very likeable indeed.
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on 3 January 2012
Great album, maybe not good as Miracle Conspiracy but still keeping high emotions and quality. Good job. Thanks for great show in Krakow/Poland, please visit us again.
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