This summer marks the 20th anniversary of ‘Exit Planet Dust’ one of the finest moments from the 1990s rock-dance crossover period, yielding a clutch of club smashes. Having been lucky enough to witness one of their blistering early live shows, one knew immediately that these guys might be around for a while and that has proved to be the case as Tom Rowlands and Ed Simonds, after providing this year’s Glastonbury with an unforgettable send off, have then followed that up with a stonking eighth album ‘Born in the Echoes’.
Opening track ‘Sometimes I Feel So Deserted’ builds slowly but surely, bumping and grinding and gradually warming up the listener up in a classic hors d’ouvres fashion, leading into lead-off single ‘Go’ which has already launched a thousand products. Don’t let that put you off though, as the duo have once more secured the services of A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip, lending his streetwise vocal to a startlingly good track, the start of which even reminding me of Rush’s seminal Tom Sawyer.
Yet more friends are enlisted on the thrillingly trance-y ‘Under Neon Lights’, this time it’s St Vincent providing her femme-fatale breathiness, followed by ‘Ali Love’ with a looped Gregorian chant on the tantalisingly twisted ‘EML Ritual’ as we slowly lose our minds to this stark slab of industrial house.
Back to the more organic sounding big beats we arrive at the no less twisted ‘I’ll See You There’ before the spookily hypnotic bounce-a-long ‘Just Bang’ giving things a slightly eerie feel. The euphorically otherworldly ‘Reflexion’ snaps us out of that, keeping the rush going that little bit longer until the short sweet slice of Das Boot sounding ‘Taste of Honey’ brings the listener right back down. Cate Le Bon continues the spooky moodiness with the title track, it’s slightly unhinged dissonance augmented by handclaps, and then before you know it, you’re grooving with everyone’s favourite slacker Beck Hansen on the album’s uber-cool closing track ‘Wide Open’.
‘Born in the Echoes’ is a very Chemical Brothers sounding record, but that’s always been a good thing in my opinion.
Words - Mike Price
Chemical Brothers Official