|Album Review: The Chemical Brothers – No Geography|
The Chemical Brothers
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It's official: The Chemical Brothers still got it. The English electronic super duo (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons) released No Geography today via Astralwerks, an incredible triumph for any artist or music group. The 10 tracks bounce between lo-fi and simplistic analog to jacking house and psychedelic funk. Despite the randomness in vocal samples, dialogue, and synths used from song to song, there remains a seamless thread that transitions each one into the next without pause.
If you're thinking to yourself, "it feels like forever since their last album came out," you're right. It's been a whopping four years. It follows the Grammy-nominated Born in the Echoes that was praised as some of the Brothers' best work. This is because at some point during the making of No Geography Rowland and Simons hit the reset button, and set off to start anew. Constructing a unique studio by utilizing a makeshift room using the kind of equipment they had used previously to record their very first two albums nearly 20 years ago.
But enough about the past. No Geography is a modern masterpiece, comparable to their debut album Exit Planet Dust and 2010 Grammy-nominated Further. The first track "Eve of Destruction" features Japanese rapper Nene that kicks off a string of features throughout. This includes vocals by Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora who wrote and recorded certain parts of the album in collaboration with the pair. "Eve of Destruction" has a patterned progression that starts with vocals and adds a new element every few beats until blasting off into a full-blown dance Royale. It's smooth sailing into "Bango", which is properly named after the bongo beat and echoing "bango, bango, bango…" vocals. Again, the songs changeover uninterruptedly into the album's title track "No Geography." This is definitely one of the standouts with an emotional tether and repetitious statement about togetherness and boundless unknowns. Though the entire album is seemingly euphoric, there is something that feels more meaningful or "bigger picture" about this track.
A handful of the tracks were previously released over the last several months including "Got To Keep On," "We've Got To Try," "Free Yourself," and "MAH (Mad As Hell)." Fun fact: if you're interested in hearing literally the fastest remix of all time, check out the Chem Bro's re-engineered version of "We've Got To Try." Rolling in under 3 seconds and at 15,000 beats per minute, the remix is meant to reflect the 15,000 revs per minute that today's Formula 1 cars are capable of reaching. Though, the original track is more our speed… just a fun, motivational song to wake up to or listen on your way into work.
Moving onto the sixth track "The Universe Sent Me," which explores layering and a more complex composition (especially mid-song – the combined sounds erupt into something beautiful). "MAH" and "Free Yourself" follow the same sci-fi explosion sound-and-feel. The final track "Catch Me I'm Falling" switches to a more calming note, giving off a very whimsical vibe before introducing some deep, soulful vocals. It's the perfect finish to quite the wild ride.
No Geography is The Chemical Brothers' ninth studio album. Since their inception in 1989, they have achieved 12 million album sales, 6 million single sales, and 4 Grammy wins. Put otherwise, they had a lot to live up to and did not disappoint. They will be following the album release by headlining a series of upcoming shows and festivals all over the world (listed below).
No Geography Track List:
- Eve Of Destruction
- No Geography
- Got To Keep On
- Gravity Drops
- The Universe Sent Me
- We've Got To Try
- Free Yourself
- Catch Me I'm Falling
International Tour Dates:
- May 11 – Guadalajara, MX, headlining Corona Capital Guadalajara Festival
- May 12 – Mexico City, MX, Pepsi Center WTC SOLD OUT
- May 15 – Los Angeles, CA, Shrine Expo Hall
- May 16 – Los Angeles, CA, Greek Theatre
- May 17 – San Francisco, CA, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
- May 24 – London, UK, All Points East Festival
- July 11 – Madrid, Spain, Mad Cool Festival
- July 13 – Lisbon, Portugal, NOS Alive Festival
- July 21 – Cuxhaven, Germany, Deichbrand Festival
- Nov. 21 – Leeds, UK, First Direct Arena
- Nov. 22 – Manchester, UK, Manchester Arena
- Nov. 23 – Glasgow, UK, The SSE Hydro
- Nov. 28 – Cardiff, UK, Motorpoint Arena
- Nov. 29 – Birmingham, UK, Birmingham Arena