The Chemical Brothers
By Ellen Eldridge
From its static opening – described as “alien morse code” on the website – throughout well-blended songs, The Chemical Brothers’ seventh release, Further, holds true to its title taking listeners further into the experience of music. The cover art shows a woman not only diving into a body of water, but it appears she actually becomes part of the body of water due to the material of her dress. This instantly becomes an artistic and moving metaphor for the album when the first track, “Snow,” elegantly glides into the second track, “Escape Velocity.” The repeated lyric, “Your love keeps lifting me higher,” extends through the second track and the backing music doesn’t change until about the second minute, when the song takes on a completely different feel.
The Chemical Brothers, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, are known for creating sensory music – the stuff you’d want to listen to while taking an acid trip – but with the collection of songs on Further one needn’t take drugs; simply put on a pair of high-quality headphones and feel the splashes of color hit the canvas. Truly, electronic music covers a wide spectrum of both talent and influence, but this is the good stuff; the elements create a kaleidoscope of sound and mirror instrumentation. From a beeping noise fading in and out to a shredding series of piano notes, The Chemical Brothers know how to get at the feel of an electronic orchestra rather than cave to the over-expressed styles of ump-tha, ump-tha techno, dance beats at late-night, inner-city raves.
The lyrics, though used sparingly, add a deeper sentiment to quieter, moodier songs like “Another World” with its opening lines, “Another world will surround me/Another heart will forgive me.” Another favorite on Further is “Horse Power” simply because it gives a fast-paced and fun feel to the dynamic build-up with a sample of a horse neighing. For fans of techno, dance, electronic and similar genres this is the cream of the crop; for those who don’t care much for electronically created symphonies, check Further out, you will be happily surprised.