For twenty years now, The Chemical Brothers have been pounding our ears with big beat basslines and acidic twittering. They have now released their eighth studio album Born In The Echoes.
Theirs is an unmistakable sound, and as soon as the first of their eleven tracks hits, you know it can’t be anyone else but the former Dust Brothers, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, the founders of Big Beat and still the UK’s premiere dance act.
The Brothers have always been able to produce hard hitting dance tunes whilst simultaneously collaborating with some of the best artists around. This long tradition is again perfectly illustrated on ‘Go’. The Brothers meet up with Q-Tip, widely regarded as pound for pound the best rapper and producer in hip-hop. Quite obviously the track is a roaring success, as Q-Tip flow is a perfect match for the industrial beats thrown down by The Brothers. This is the lead single off the album, and is already receiving huge airplay.
As if to prove that they can switch genres and still produce and collaborate to great effect, up next is the track ‘Under Neon Lights’. This time the featured guest is St. Vincent which results in a slower, more moody track which echoes more of their ability to tune into their pop sensibilities. However, as The Brothers are such seasoned professionals, the track is contagious and still delivers.
With two, big collaborations under their belt The Brothers return to their trademark sound with track ‘EML Ritual’ which features vocals from Ali Love, and following that a wonderful, deeply hypnotic track ‘I'll See You There’, which has echoes of their previous smash hit ‘Setting Sun’ as it swirls and pulses into your ears. It’s kind of a throwback to their earlier career, yet it’s still fresh enough whilst supplying us with waves of nostalgia.
The album is completed with two further collaborations. The title track ‘Born In The Echoes’ features Cate Le Bon. A minimal sounding track with features huge swooping synths that would not be out of place on a Gary Numan or Kraftwerk album. Le Bon’s vocal provides an industrial feel, and is maybe the only main collaboration that does not deliver as the others have. Yet even this still displays The Brothers’ ability, as they use their experience in developing catchy pop hooks and loops. The final track of the album features everyone’s favourite songwriter, Beck. The track, entitled ‘Wide Open’, starts with a hugely infectious bassline that conjurers up many a lost Ibiza party anthem from days gone by. Yet Beck’s lyrics keep it grounded and balanced. It is clearly the stand out track of the whole album, and certain to be a summer smash.
All in all, this album proves, if any proof was needed, that despite being seasoned campaigners The Chemical Boys know what works, it’s not just a case of going through the motions with a few collaborations. The Brothers clearly still have the drive to perform and entertain in the only way they know how. We hope that they continue in this vain for many more years to come.