The Chemical Brothers - We Are the Night (4 stars)

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Virgin/Freestyle Dust

ELECTRONICA

There’s a feeling of things coming full circle when Klaxons are guesting on Chemical Brothers records; it’s the equivalent of Nick Cave guesting on Johnny Cash songs. The track, ‘All Rights Reversed’ is an exquisite, piano-driven juggernaught laced with perfectly underplayed, tired, weedy boy vocals. It highlights two things perfectly: firstly that The Chemical Brothers never sound better when they have a vocal foil, and that after a decade of being ‘the dance band indie kids like’ they are in fact now the godfathers of an entire generation of artists who want to make hedonistic, geeky electropopmusic for its own sake.

After a couple of well-received but ultimately lukewarm albums this is the duo’s first album in some years that sounds like they have purpose and focus. ‘Saturate’ is a thunderous, layered tribute to the genius of Leftfield and Cozy Powell while ‘Harpoons’ is My-Bloody-Tangerine-Dream-Valentine-tastic and closer ‘The Pills Won’t Help You Now’, starring Midlake, is the best Arab Strap tribute song ever written by Mercury Rev (kind of). Rather than the token indie contributions from big hitters, they’ve collaborated with operatives like Willy Mason and Fatlip who actually bring something more to the table than the high profile and the inevitable single they’ll never ever get to do justice to live.

Instead of waddling into decrepitude and irrelevance The Chemical Brothers have come up with a musically able long player that is slow burning and multi-faceted. They’ve never been subtle, but that’s rarely been the point. Like Beck and the Beastie Boys they’ve been around long enough to start taking references from themselves, and while this might not seem cool it still sounds pretty damn fine.

(Mark Robertson)

The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers mix up their usual psychedelic blend of electro, house and rock with slightly less potency these days.

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