The Chemical Brothers are back it again, giving us their first album since 2010’s ‘Further’. The duo consisting of Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands first started turning heads when they emerged in the mid 90s with their unique flavour of electronica, infused with everything from psychedelic rock to hip hop. Fast forward 20 years and the pair are continuing to transcend conventional genres and styles and push the boundaries of modern music.
‘Born In The Echoes’ proves that as a musical project, the two are just as relevant as ever. The songs on this album are new and adventurous, yet they retain that unmistakable Chemical Brothers charm. The whole set is brimming with high-energy bass that shoots to the furthest reaches of your body. Weird noises seem to rise to the surface from nowhere; strange, perplexing sounds whose origin could well be from another planet. True to past releases, the only thing that connects these songs is their overwhelming diversity.
As with previous albums, the two have enlisted a troupe of contributors to lend their vocal talents to the mix. Q-Tip is first on the billing; rapping over the bass-driven, radio friendly ‘Go’.
St. Vincent’s Annie Clark appears on the following track ‘Under Neon Lights’; a strange yet very listenable tune with multi-layered vocals and off-beat click clack drum beats. Also to make an appearance is Canadian poet Bill Bissett on “Ill see you there”; a psych-rock jam that reminds us psychedelia is just as much an influence for the Bros and any other. Last on the list of notable additions to the album comes in the form of Beck who sings on the final track ‘Wide Open’ for what is a soft, dreamy and essentially catchy tune. Unfortunately the song lacks any real impact, especially for a closer, and given the guest, one would have expected a bit more.
Although the album is heavy on the guest spots, no one succeeds in stealing the show. Their contributions serve only to accompany and amplify the already very strong instrumentation. The track ‘Taste Of Honey’ appears later in the album and is a good example of this; showing the duo’s willingness to experiment with new atmospheric sounds and bizarre song structures.
‘Born In The Echoes’ is an example of just how good the Chemical Brothers can be as producers and is another milestone solidifying them as masters of their craft. It shows that while they make electronic music, it seems they listen to everything but. It is as much an experience to be shared on the dance floor, as it is an individual trip for the senses. Either way, its best enjoyed LOUD. Whether that be through the speakers or the headphones is up to you.
Article By Edward Acheson