Hey, The Chemical Brothers are still releasing records. Or, maybe, since this is their first album in five years it should be Hey, The Chemical Brothers are releasing records again. I haven’t listened to an album by these guys in 20 years, which was when their debut album came out. And as far as I can tell, things are pretty much the same, and that’s a good thing.
Born In The Echoes is 52 minutes of well-crafted dance/electronica/whatever. I hate talking about dance-y genres, because some people get super serious about it, sometimes restricting genres to specific BPMs. I think The Chemical Brothers can play in those too-serious circles, but they also have great crossover appeal to people who just want to listen to cool sounds over a cool beat and rock out a little. They’re great at hitting that sweet spot of super accessible but also really sonically interesting.
Not everything about the lack of change the band’s music has seen in the last two decades is positive. There are stretches of Exit Planet Dust that veer off the tracks, and this record has a pretty rough middle stretch as well. “Reflexion” is quite good, but definitely too long and repetitive in parts. It’s preceded by the mediocre “Just Bang” and followed by “Taste Of Honey,” which is only good if you’re in the right mood and doesn’t really fit on the record. (It would have made a good B-side, me thinks.)
But for the first three-and-a-half tracks and then the last two songs, the band is absolutely firing on all cylinders. When I’m in those parts of the album I’m thinking, “Now why didn’t I give this five clowns again?” I’m sorry I’ve spent so much time away from these guys. Don’t make the same mistake.
Mix: “Go,” “Wide Open”
Really Like: “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted,” “Under Neon Lights”
Like: “EML Ritual,” “Reflexion,” “Born In The Echoes,” “Radiate”
Meh: “I’ll See You There,” “Just Bang,” “Taste Of Honey”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Sometimes I Feel So Deserted –
- Go – reminiscent of the “brothers gonna work it out” from Exit Planet Dust. Q-Tip on vocals
- Under Neon Lights – St. Vincent on vox
- EML Ritual – Ali Love on vox. The first half or two-thirds is awesome, then it gets too repetitive.
- I’ll See You There –
- Just Bang –
- Reflexion –
- Taste Of Honey – Beck-ish. Kinda sounds like that video I have of a young M saying “fart”
- Born In The Echoes –
- Radiate –
- Wide Open – Beck on vox