The Chemical Brothers – Further

The Chemical Brothers – Further

If you can take what The Chemical Brothers had done with their immense catalog and appropriately justify their significance, you don’t need to look any further than their first two masterpieces, Exit Planet Dust and Dig Your Own Hole. With those two albums, alone, they were the trailblazers for what would become the Big Beat genre and they encapsulated what a lot of the 90s electronic scene consisted of. While everyone else was running around trying to figure out just how to make electronic albums, The Chemical Brothers had developed their own formula.

That formula was a recipe that called for huge singles, great-thinking guests and middle sections that delved deep into the submerge of psychedelic music. So in many regards – after a slump that hasn’t seen their latest triumph since 2002’s Come With Us – it made sense for Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons to take a step back and come up with something entirely new and still, knock it out of the park. Favoring a live setting that allowed freedom of transition and introductions, the British duo has created an eight-song, true comeback of an album, with Further.

Not only is the music so much more expansive and thus, massively large, but it rides on the tail of what is two artists losing all inhibition. “Swoon” is the album’s most easily identifiable song with its melodic synth line and pumping house beat but you need to dig through a diverse color of sounds to find that singular vocal line. But here, instead of getting a big name to sing, the duo opted for anonymous singers that could very simply, add dimension and a new instrument without ever taking focus away from the music.

There was definitely a clear division as to what kind of album they were intending to make beforehand and it’s brilliantly showcased all over. Further’s opening two songs attest to this with a melting of new ideas that immediately signal a new coming. “Snow” doesn’t ever approach with a drum, instead it’s a growing accumulation of guitar and chanting vocals that gorgeously transcend into “Escape Velocity”’s booming sounds. They’re the perfect pair to start things off, the big sounds, the forceful entryways and the dashingly glorious explosions are all around and they’re without limitations.

“Wonders of the Deep” is what happens when you hit the bottom only to realize that the only direction to go is up; layered with keyboards and pounding drums, the Chems push the outer realms with distinctly full-bodied ideas. Rowlands was quoted as stating the album’s sound was created through a different set of thinking that involved letting loose: “We’d find things that made us feel good and not worry about other people’s ideals for how the record should sound, we just let it go.” Smart sequencing is the biggest contribution with songs ebbing and flowing into each other and the entire presentation displayed as one all-encompassing concert.

I still have my poster of that great image on the cover of Dig Your Own Hole and its amazing knowing that long-standing veterans are still bringing forth such good music. There still are able and capable musicians that can modify with the change and can adapt their own style to continue to captivate. And honestly so, Further is an even farther extension of their scope; to borrow from the aforementioned opener, “Your love keeps lifting me…lifting me higher.”

Astralwerks