After hearing the first minutes of the opening track on Animal Rights, one gets the impression that this is the Moby that they've grown to love. "Dead Sun" drifts along in a wash of organ sounds that make the listener want to drift off into a more peaceful state of being.
Almost four minutes later, that feeling soon wears away. On "Someone To Love," the electric guitar gets cranked up, and so does Moby. A wash of metal-fuzz blares away and he screams out lyrics as if in pain. This same sound continues through 7 of the next 14 songs. Ambient washes like the first song comprise the rest of the album. Almost split directly down the middle, the album is strangely two-sided. On some songs, Moby is Dr. Jekyll, creating beautiful washes of sound of almost haunting beauty. On the other hand he is Mr. Hyde, belting out pseudo thrash-punk songs with the greatest of ease. Gone are the big dance beats and screaming divas of old, this is Richard Melville Hall at his strangest. Apparently, the punk influence of his first band (The Vatican Commandoes) has resurfaced and he is feeling the need to express himself.
The answer of whether the album works or not probably lies within each individual listener. If you liked songs like "What Love" and "All That I Need Is To Be Loved" off his last album Everything Is Wrong, then you'll probably identify with the static drum beats and hard driven guitars on the new album. If one yearns for more danceable tunes, they should probably look elsewhere. One thing nice is that the ambient is close to his old stuff. Fairly minimalistic and once again haunting and sad, it makes for an interesting they starkly contrast the voracious of the rest of the songs. Even if you don't like the speed-thrash stuff, you can program your CD player and still have almost 40 minutes of electronic washes.
With his new album, Moby definitely isn't going the easy route. While he is taking the chance of either gaining some new fans, he also risks alienating a lot of his old (or potential) ones with the new sounds. He has reached a point in his career where he can do what he wants, and this is apparently it. You simply have to be content or go elsewhere. Personally, I'm not too thrilled by the disc, but that doesn't mean I won't hang around for his next release.