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The Chemical Brothers


[EMI / Virgin / Freestyle Dust; 2010]

By ; July 7, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

The Chemical Brothers have been on the electronic music scene since 1991. They started out among other break beat acts like the Crystal Method, Groove Armada and the Prodigy. Yet, unlike the other groups, the Chemical Brothers have risen above and beyond mere break beats and hooks.

This album is both new and familiar territory for the duo and their fans, alike. As a whole, Further is reminiscent of early tracks such as “Where Do I Begin,” chalk full of psychedelic wonder. The Chemical Brothers seem to have drawn influence from their early albums, like the classic Dig Your Own Hole from 1997, and 1999’s Surrender. However, it does not mimic an earlier pattern the duo developed. Prior to a couple jumbled albums, 2005’s Push the Button and 2007’s We Are the Night, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons would craft albums featuring some heavy hitters, a couple psychedelic tunes and a single or two. With this new album, Simons and Rowlands have thrown out parts of their old system and decided to create something more melodic. The result is an album that flows as smoothly as one of the duo’s mind blowing live shows.

While the duo’s previous work has been peppered with guest vocals and collaborations, Further features only one: singer/songwriter Stephanie Dosen, who adds her vocal talent to the bleeping, glitchy album opener, “Snow,” “Swoon,” and “K+D+B.” The rest of the vocals heard throughout the album are done by the Brothers’ own Rowlands. The decision to minimize collaborations was a wise move on their part, considering some of their worst songs featured guest vocalists (a la “Galvanize”).

“Escape Velocity” follows immediately after “Snow,” but the two are blended so well together that they could be the same song. Around the two-minute mark, the first beat on the album is heard. This sets off a song full of peaks and valleys, which constantly swell to a point of overwhelming, sonic euphoria. “Another World” starts off with some light guitar riffs, but soon transforms into a wobbling, spacey lounge track. “Horse Power,” complete with samples of neighing mares, is the only heavy, hard-hitting song on the album. However, it doesn’t take away from the psychedelic mellowness the Brothers have established. The last three tracks, “Swoon,” “K+D+B” and “Wonders of the Deep” maintain Further‘s overall vibe, while keeping an atmosphere that allows them to stand on their own.

It is hard to imagine that the two human beings who made such a complete album are also responsible for songs like “Do It Again.” Regardless of the few hiccups they’ve had in their career, the Chemical Brothers have once again given the people something to dance to.


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