THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS
ALBUM VIRGIN RELEASE: JUNE 21, 1999 REVIEW: JUNE 29, 1999
With almost every new release, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, better known as The Chemical Brothers, have proven their fabulous strength at creating enormously swinging songs, sticking to their own sound and still being able to sell millions of records. "Hey Boy Hey Girl", the first single off their new album "Surrender", is no exception. The meeting between a bass line that is almost pure electronic body music and the extremely funky trademark Chemical Brothers beats makes it almost as stunning as old hits like "Leave Home" or "Elektrobank".
Unfortunately, the rest of the more ordinary dance tracks lack the ability to work up that typical kind of block rockin' euphoria. They're, naturally, all good, but simply without that special touch of their best moments.
Instead, it's rather the collaborations with other artists that are most impressive. In particular "Out of Control", where Bernard Sumner of New Order and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream sings a duet over furious electronic bass lines, wall shaking beats and noisy synths. Seven breath taking minutes that even make you forgive Sumner for recording the latest, horrible Electronic album "Twisted Tenderness". Just as breath taking, but in a whole different way, is "Asleep from Day". It's a stunningly beautiful piece featuring Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, with a mood strongly reminiscent of The Velvet Underground. And that is a good grade.
I really, really utterly dislike the terrible retro rock of Oasis, but on "Let Forever Be", a psychedelic, Beatles tinted pop song, Noel Gallagher sounds really good, just as on "Setting Sun" off of the last Chemical Brothers album "Dig Your Own Hole".
"Music should trigger some kind of response", a robotic voice says in the opening track "Music: Response". It's not only a motto all musicians should aim at, but also one that Tom and Ed often live up to on "Surrender".