The Chemical Brothers reemergence back into the scene’s limelight was ignited by their collaboration with Miguel for the Hunger Games soundtrack, “This Is Not A Game“. The eerie, distorted sounds brought about a nostalgia of refreshing memories of the nineties and naughties for many of their fans. Having not released an album for 5 years, the patience of their followers has certainly brought about great expectation for their new material and sounds. ‘Born in the Echoes‘ is the pairs 8th album and continues on the footsteps of their previous full-length, ‘Further’, creating a neat development and sequence of sound which has brought about a sort of resurgence.
Compared to their 7th album, ‘Born in the Echoes’ has less of a DJ-Dancefloor euphoria with the theme of love, and more a combination of the overall genres spectrum with festival triumphs, club grinders, studio creations and some of the purest pop Rowlands and Simons have ever made.
“Sometimes I feel so deserted” is the first track off the new album, and while one could argue it’s the most under-whelming of the three released tracks so far, it serves it’s purpose as more of a club-esque track, with a pumping deep bassline and varying synths. It’s trance-inducing atmosphere is brought about with rising sirens and meaty riffs, creating a hard-hitting album-starter that will shake your senses and begin your Chemical Brothers indulgence.
“Go” is one of the best pop songs infused with their studio creativity they’ve made in two decades. Reminiscent of “Galvinise” and it’s hypnotic ‘catchiness’, with Q=Tip at the helm spitting lyrical motivation, the rubber basslines create an uplifting mood, ideal for a sporting montage of big hits and fine-tuned skill.
“Under neon lights” is one of the most experimental tracks on the album. Collaborating with diverse St.Vincent (who is currently dating Cara delevingne), the 4 minutes 30 seconds travels through one of the most weird sequence and layering of sound. While feeling disjointed, it also feels suitable, leaving you with a bizarre atmosphere. On one hand the lyrics reflect a dire, love infused theme, yet the track brings a sort of roughness and toughness to the mood, mirroring the complexities of modern emotions.That, or Rowland and Simon had some extra nutrition during its production…Either way, it demonstrates the duo’s pure talent at production and their ability to draw an all-star cast.
Their latest release “EML Ritual” features the vocal of Ali Love and takes on a progressive crescendo, with rising volume and intensity. With a spectrum of sounds scattered throughout, the track is one of the most distinctive on the album. Suitable for nearly any of the Chemical Brothers settings, it’s easy to see how this song made the cut.
The remainder of the album really does reflect one of Rowland summarising reasons for the albums direction, stating “We’re just really into making funny sounds and putting them into some kind of order that makes sense … Not every song has to be the meaning of life.”
“I’ll See You There” takes on a psych-funk approach scattered with drums overlaid with renowned poet Bill Bisset’s voice, whereas “Just Bang” uses drums as it’s basic, driving element to create a near-tribal sound. “Reflexion” uses FX in way that leaves it looping internally, with stretched harmonic chords and a busy drum to carry the song, it takes an opposite direction to the “Taste of Honey” which uses the Hunger Games vicious funk soundtrack along with cameo bee sounds to create one of the more memorable items on the tracklist.
“Born in the Echoes” not only plays on sounds but also volume, pairing up with Cate Le Bon to deliver a true club staple for The Chemical Brothers. “Radiate” with Colin Stetson (a touring member of Arcade Fire and Bon Iver) brings a more subdued, relaxed vibe, with a m83-esque tempo and layering. And finally rounding off the album is their collaboration with ‘Album Of The Year’, Grammy-Winner, Beck. “Wide Open” captures both artists characterizing elements of distinctive sounds and smooth vocals, all with meaning. Arguably the best track on the album, it will no doubt feature of the radio airwaves if used as the next release.
Like fellow pioneers Daft Punk, the Chemical Brothers have remained principled in their production creation, opting for original over popular. Incorporating such a variety of artists and sounds into their latest work, the pair have captured a breadth of emotions and atmospheres. Renowned for proving dance music needn’t just be techno to keep its soul, their 8th studio full-length could easily be at a 1990’s rave, reflecting the timeless essence of their work. While it doesn’t quite include the next “Galvanize” we hoped for, their latest material deserves all the respect they’ve earned over the years with the achievement of creating some new, varied and fresh.
‘Born In The Echoes’ is available at iTunes