The Chemical Brothers Put a Dark Spin on Party Music on “Born in the Echoes”

Featured Image by Julio Enriquez via Flickr

English electronic dance music duo The Chemical Brothers, a.k.a. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simon, recently released their eighth album, Born in the Echoes. The album is full of big beats, raging synthesizers, and guest vocal appearances from the likes of Beck and St. Vincent. The result is an hour’s worth of party music, some tracks suitable for raging and others, a little more calm for the come-down.

the chemical brothers - born in the echoes

Born in the Echoes is a wild ride that contains straightforward, climactic techno in addition to more experimental and atmospheric cuts. The Chemical Brothers build on fat drum beats and thumping electronics, go on captivating tangents that loop back around, and bring in vocals that complement their varied sounds. For instance, “Go” is sure to be a knockout in clubs everywhere while “Under Neon Lights” is more meditative. In “Go,” the bass persistently pummels underneath Q-Tips‘s rapid delivery of party-minded lyrics, and the bass line eventually gets out of control with bubbling electronic manipulation. On the other hand, “Under Neon Lights” delves into darkness with scuzzy electronics and St. Vincent’s lyrics that surround the topic of death and suicide. The darker themes are accompanied by thunderous bass, but the disorderly nature of the sound hints at some more thoughtful themes.

As the album progresses, The Chemical Brothers really start to show off their eccentric side. “I’ll See You There” is loud and obnoxious in a good way, with a non stop groove made up of sampled vocals, odd sounds, and raw drumming. The noises they make are often jumbled and might not sound great on their own, but together they flow and bob in a way that captivates the ear. “Taste of Honey” sits back on a bouncy beat while shrieks and bee buzzing take over the forefront. The vocals repeat “If you don’t have no money, you won’t get no honey” before the instrumentals go into a short mess of fuzz and end in nonsensical bliss. More of that state comes through on the title track, where Cate Le Bon sings “In the night I could see rings of sound follow me / I was caught in between, I was born in the echoes.” The flowing track contains a plethora of background electronic sounds that come in as quickly as they fade out, and conclude with electronic clutter.

Born in the Echoes is full of crowd-pleasing dance music that uses experiential undertones to create an imaginative album. Among the self-proclaimed DJ’s of the world, it is pretty refreshing to hear some programmed music that does not simply rely on the next immense bass drop. There are the flat-out rager songs, but the album has enough underpinnings of personal experience to bring a credibility that elevates their mindset above most popular electronica.

Stream Born in the Echoes below or pick up a copy here. The Chemical Brothers will be headlining the Electric Zoo Festival in New York on September 4th, get more information here.

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