Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Review: Chemical Brothers- Further

The Chemical Brothers are arguably the best big beat musicians out there. Capable of holding arena sized crowds with their huge beats and sometimes great insturmentation, it's easy to see why they were in such high regard. The past decade however, hasn't been to kind to Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons. After the release of the virtually flawless "Surrender" in 1999, what followed was a trio of true hit or miss affairs. With that behind them, they're playing with house money and nothing to lose, making for their newest release as somewhat of a triumph.

Further opens up with "Snow" a soft opening and Stephanie Dosen's beautiful voice back fand forth, easily syncing into "Escape Velocity" making for a teriffic opening one-two punch. While "Snow" is soft and almost passing off as a lullaby, "Velocity" is another run of the mill clubber that the Chemical Brothers have always been great at making, and with the near 12 minute length, it's a marathon that's worth running.

The album does have its down points though, "Horse Power" comes off as a goofy dance number complete with horse noises and a frat boy beat. "Swoon" follows, but seems out of place and a little dated in sound, making for the middle of the album to be kind of a drag to get through, though it does become rewarding in the end.

"K+D+B" follows "Swoon" with its percussion heave beginning and goes into full out trance, making for the album's standout track. "Wonders of the Deep" follows and ends the album on a high note and eases the listener's tension and caps off a very solid, yet short effort from The Chemical Brothers.

The questions of if they were in a funk are answered here. Easily the best later career album they've made, even if it doesn't rank up there with "Surrender", yet it doesn't try to. Further is a success because it goes back to the drawing board and takes its time to engage you, as long as you engage it. And the more paitent you are with it, the better.

**** out of *****

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