Review #91: The Chemical Brothers – Born In The Echoes

Artist – The Chemical Brothers
Album – Born In The Echoes (2015)

Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/36E5LAM5D3AKnVx8s5dyc6

The Chemical Brothers are an electronic dance duo from Manchester, UK. The duo consist of Ed Simmons and Tom Rowlands, whom along with The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim etc pioneered the ‘Big Beat’ music genre to the forefront of british pop culture. Throughout their career The Chemical Brothers have gone on to gain numerous awards, including 4 grammys and a Brit, usually for the best electronic/dance act. During their 26 years together the duos discography has grown extensively, including compilation albums, a live album, a soundtrack (Hanna) and 8 full length albums, including the album to be reviewed today ‘Born In The Echoes’.

With the sudden rise of EDM in recent years, giving us vanilla artists such as Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Avicii pumping out formulaic hit after hit, it is refreshing to have the slightly older generation of artists (The Chemical Brothers) come along, release an album and it still be relevant and more interesting that the aforementioned DJs/producers. ‘Born In The Echoes’ is a split album, split by pop-ish tracks that follow the big chorus guidelines and the more experimental/interesting instrumental tracks. By “pop-ish tracks” however i don’t mean as formulaic as an Avicii song, just one with memorable melodies and lyrics that catch the listener’s ear compared to the other half of the album. A number of songs on this album have included guest vocals, not particularly by any massive artists other than Beck, but ones that bring their own style to the piece. These guest vocals come from Annie Clark, Ali Love, Bill Bissett etc, however i feel the best performance comes from rapper Q-tip on the song ‘Go’, one of the more poppy track and a personal favourite. My other personal favourite, on the more experimental side of the album, is the track ‘EML Ritual’ of which changes in pace and style throughout the song, offering an electronic but psychedelic feel at the same time.

The Chemical Brothers have come along and shown how to make a hit electronic album be interesting as well as catchy, whilst many strive just for the catchy (exceptions for chase & status, The prodigy etc). Born In The Echoes is a well produced masterclass in electronica.

8/10

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