COMPILATION VIRGIN RELEASE:
SEPTEMBER 24, 2003 REVIEW: OCTOBER 9, 2003
The Chemical Brothers emerged, they suddenly made a whole lot of male
rock journalists bond over finally having found electronic music that
“rocked”. In the process they conveniently managed to forget
all about the electronic rock’n’roll of bands like Suicide
and Foetus, but, hey, that shouldn’t really surprise anyone, credit
is too rarely given where it’s due.
But it’s not too difficult to see what converted these electrophobiacs.
First, The Chemical Brothers have been guested by quite a few indie stars.
And, second, even in their instrumental songs, they somehow manage to
be criminally catchy.
This singles compilation is a timely reminder of just how great pop singles
they are (or at least were) capable of producing. The first five tracks
are insanely... insane. From the hip hop shrieks of “Song to the
Siren” over “Leave Home”, which still sounds like a
party you wish would last forever, to “Block Rockin’ Beats”,
with it’s infamous theft of a 23 Skidoo bassline. And then I haven’t
even mentioned “Setting Sun”, Tom and Ed’s take on The
Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”, which features a surprisingly
tolerable Noel Gallagher singing over neck breaking beats and noises that
are a pure psychedelic rush.
Things never really reach the same standard after this opening. But it’s
close with “Out of Control”, madly adrenalin-pumping electronic
body music that comes on like a freight train running that whole genre
over. The power of the bassline is so amazing that you barely notice the
vocals provided by Bernard Sumner and Bobby Gillespie. But apart from
this, The Chemical Brothers seem to have lost their way with the hits.
Not least exemplified in new single “The Golden Path”. Featuring
whimsical rock band The Flaming Lips, it’s a little too close to
a rehash of earlier collaborations with Mercury Rev to be entirely convincing.