The Chemical Brothers
Born in the Echoes
Jul 17, 2015 Web Exclusive
Twenty years strong, eight albums deep, and five years' anticipation, the hope is that The Chemical Brothers' latest, Born in the Echoes, will introduce some subtlety and song craft to today's dancefloor bangers. Writing electronic pop songs is the British duo's forte. Their focus is on shaping electronically created sounds to play the role traditionally filled by a vocal, thus making it about the structure and not a featured vocal. Born in the Echoes has five voices, but it is The Chemical Brothers' borrowing of landmark sounds from their own library that is the album's biggest strength.
The return to form is clear on album opener, "Sometimes I Feel So Deserted." Unlike the drop after drop style of current mindless EDM winners, this track withholds the drop until it is boiling over and then releases the listener right into it for an extended stretch. The Brothers' "Galvanize" cohort, Q-Tip, returns on "Go," propelling that bottom heavy, rumbling siren song with his loose yet taught rhymes. No stranger to the moody female vocal, St. Vincent is tapped for the Blondie-esque "Under Neon Lights," which smacks of moments of "Rapture." "I'll See You There," which sounds like it's playing backwards, has the swoon-inducing, hallucinogenic quality of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," underscored by thundering drums that could have been provided by Ginger Baker or John Bonham. And "Reflexion" bounces along buzzing, rubbery basslines, both tracks vocal-free. Born in the Echoes takes a comedown turn on the last third starting with a "Taste of Honey," the most soporific of tracks leading to the soothing Beck-featured closer, "Wide Open."
They may have cake to spare, but in 20 years, it will be interesting to see if present-day EDM superstars manage to have the staying power of The Chemical Brothers. (www.thechemicalbrothers.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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