- 16 Apr 19
Dance icons make impressive return.
When the apocalypse comes, the Chemical Brothers should DJ it. I say that because the electro legends’ ninth LP is laced with a sense of impending doom, yet still manages to be fun. Opening track ‘Eve Of Destruction’ sets the tone.
Its siren synths, chorus delivered by robots, and lyrics describing a global catastrophe contrast with fast cowbell sounds, samba drums and samples of cheering audiences. It also features the first of many ace transitions between songs, leading into ‘Bango’, which morphs the previous track’s percussive elements into an avant-jazz freak-out.
Mid-record, proceedings get more upbeat. With its softer piano melody and choral samplings, ‘No Geography’ is a welcome slice of good-old fashioned euphoric dance. ‘We’ve Got to Try’, meanwhile, is fist-pumpingly brilliant thanks to its massive soul-inflected hook, orchestral instruments and trip-hop beat.
Yet, darkness lurks even in the poppier tracks on No Geography. Sometimes it thrillingly spills over in unexpected places – like the loud, drill-like drop on ‘Gravity Drops’, or the cacophony that erupts midway through ‘The Universe Sent Me’. By the time we get to final tracks ‘Free Yourself’ and ‘Mad As Hell’, the sirens from ‘Eve Of Destruction’ are back – and even louder.
Overloaded with vastly different sounds, The Chemical Brothers’ latest is a messy and abrasive LP. No Geography is also full of passion and often exhilarating. It isn’t a perfect record, but it’s a record for our times nonetheless.