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Album Review
Born In The Echoes

Born In The Echoes
by The Chemical Brothers

Virgin EMI

Review Date
24th August 2015
Reviewed by
Paul Larsen

The Chemical Brothers are more than just the elder statesmen of modern dance music, they pioneered it. Of course, they owe their sound in turn to greats such as Underworld, Leftfield and even New Order in turn, but it’s difficult to deny that the Manchester duo took dance music from the confines of basement sessions and clubs to mainstream audiences everywhere. In fact, the group’s single ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ won a Grammy for ‘Best Instrumental Rock Track’ in 1997, ostensibly because there was no award for dance music at the time (the award for ‘Best Dance Recording’ was introduced the following year).

Eighteen years since that single, and 20 years since the band’s first seminal record Exit Planet Dust, the bros are back with new record, Born in the Echoes. But has the ground underneath them moved too far? The boiler room is no more… Should we still care?

In a word, yes. This much is clear around a minute into the tightly wound bounce-rhythms of opening track ‘Sometimes I Feel So Deserted’. The familiar palette of looped drum kicks, high hats, hand-claps and escalating melodies the band use as a canvas for their art is timeless. It identifies the band, underpins everything they do and it’s employed as effectively as ever here. As well as pushing the boat out with more adventurous sampling and even the off mathrock element, the record benefits from inspired guest spots from the likes of Q-Tip (‘Go’), St Vincent (‘Under Neon Lights’) and even Beck on album closer ‘Wide Open’.

All told, Born in the Echoes is a welcome entry into The Chemical Brothers' catalogue and about as much fun as you’ll have on a record this year. Sure, it may not be challenging or inventive enough for those stacking it up against the current crop of EDM’s finest, but there’s a reason these guys maintain the pulling power they do after more than two decades of music - they’re actually quite good at it.


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