The Chemical Brothers Further (Virgin/EMI) CD REVIEW

It’s sad to realise that for all the promise electronic music held in the ‘90s, in 2010 we’re left with its detritus: those acts who through canny moves and dogged perseverance created an electronic hybrid that took their music out of the clubs and into arenas.

I guess it’s inevitable that any music movement will end up opting for the lowest common denominator (and the highest returns), and that’s why the more subtle and engaging exponents of electronic music are now marginalised, while the likes of the Chemical Brothers continue to play for heaving stadiums of (presumably) 30 and 40-somethings for whom their first taste of Ecstacy was a life-changing experience. (That is, they’re now condemned to a desperate nostalgic expedition to recreate the conditions of that moment in time).

It’s as though Further has been concocted with just that audience in mind. While previous ‘Chemicals’ albums have opted for a bit of this and a bit of that approach, with guest vocalists a-plenty, here we have an album that seems to want to mimic the entire event experience.

It’s got the slow builds, the teasing pre-orgasms and the final Euro-techno style stadium ejaculations, and it’s all geared to whipping the masses into a screaming, sweating lather of lasciviousness. And it’s all so blindingly dull.

In fact, things are so blatant that the first track is entirely without beats, just charming old electrics buzzing like an overloaded telephone switchboard until the line “your love keeps lifting me higher and higher” is repeated, ad nauseum. The second track is eleven wasted minutes, and initially sounds promising, with its Krautrock-style motorik rhythm. That, however, is just a foundation for the layers of Euro-disco synths and the dumb house tropes that follow. They keep on doing those jet engine sounds, but when’s take-off?

At times they do what they’re famous for – marrying rock type energy with dance moves. Mostly, however, the Chemical Brothers come on like a lover who has all the right moves, but wears cheap deodorant. In total, Further hardly gets past the starting gate, and most damning of all, it’s ordinary.

Sound: Just average. While there’s a fair bit of heft to the production in places, it sounds like it’s mixed for the MP3 generation. GARY STEEL

Sound = 2.5

Music = 2.5

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