Chemical Brothers – No Geography
- David Pollock
- 10 April 2019
This article is from 2019
The Brothers still working it out
To say the Chemical Brothers remain trapped in amber on this, their ninth album in twenty-four years is to play down just what a remarkable feat their career has been – two decades and more ploughing through the ever-mutating world of dance music by essentially doing what they've always done, while modulating it just enough to appear both current and timeless.
The last time they delivered a record, it stood up to the sound of the world around it and this time it's no different. In fact, if anything in Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons' repertoire has changed, it's the subtle sense of itchy-footedness about the way the political world has shifted since their last release.
The signposts to what the pair are trying to say are obscured in the dense undergrowth of techno beats, but there if you want to find them. 'No geography… you and me, and him and her, and them too,' murmurs the sampled voice woven through the upbeat retro house crests of the title track, a sense of internationalist solidarity implied; 'I know we can make it, girl / we've got to try,' hollers the hopeful Hallelujah Chorus sample arcing over the ragged acid breaks of 'We've Got to Try'; 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it no more,' runs the vocal sample across 'MAH's strident techno funk.
These connections are there to be found if you're looking, but this isn't the Chems' agitprop record. It is, frankly, another big party of an album which will only be proven in its natural environment, the laser-streaked, air-rumbling arenas of their upcoming tour. Amid the steel drum post-punk of 'Bango' and the urbane chill-out of 'The Universe Sent Me', there are some enjoyable experiments here, while the effervescent and impossible-to-resist 'Got to Keep In' is a stone Chemicals classic on very first listen.
Out Fri 12 Apr.