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The Chemical Brothers Further
Released 14 June 2010
Producer The Chemical Brothers
Label Parlophone
Length 51:58
Genre Electronic
Website www.thechemicalbrothers.com

The Chemical Brothers have existed for nearly two decades as the acceptable face of dance music, a group that appealed to a vast cross-section of music lovers. Along with the The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim, they were instrumental in pushing Big Beat to the top of the charts during the 90s. Their big selling point was their guest artists, taking vocalists like Noel Gallagher, Q-Tip and Wayne Coyne out of their comfort zone and planting them into the world of dance music. There was a certain novelty and fun to these tracks that you just don’t get with serial collaborators like UNKLE or Massive Attack. So it comes as a surprise that they have shunned their tried and tested formula, opting instead to perform the vocals themselves with a cameo from Stephanie Dosen.

'Snow' opens proceedings with an agitated electronic beat reminiscent of a dial up modem with a simple vocal (provided by Dosen) that grows and becomes more intricate as the song progresses. Lacking in any drums it sounds a bit flimsy but starts to make a whole lot more sense when 'Escape Velocity' kicks in. At just under twelve minutes 'Escape Velocity' is relentless, constantly building up the music from scratch and exploding in a flurry of electronic madness only to drop down to nothing again, even managing to include an orchestral build up that sounds suspiciously like 'A Day in the Life'. It finally burns out with what sounds like an arcade game on acid, giving way to the ethereal 'Another World' and the distorted guitar driven 'Dissolve' both of which feature Tom on vocals.

'Horse Power' is the low point of the album, a truly cheesy track where the song title is repeated over and over with the accompaniment of a neighing horse and screeching tyres reminiscent of that horrible 'Formula 1' song by DJ Visage. Thankfully it’s a one off and the album continues in fine form with the euphoric 'Swoon' and 'K + D + B' before finishing up with 'Wonders of the Deep'; an uplifting end to a strange and wonderful journey.

The deluxe edition of Further comes with a bonus DVD entitled Further Visuals. Similar to the Tomato Art feature on Underworld’s Everything Everything, this is a collection of eight short clips created by Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall. Without giving too much away, each clip has a unique style that intertwines with the corresponding track creating a stimulating experience, perfect for those late night house parties.

Ultimately, critical acclaim and album sales won’t matter; Further should be judged by the fans on its live performance. It feels like an album that needs to be experienced, one that will only realise its full potential when played to a field full of revellers. It  may catch some flak for not conforming to expectations but this is a bold step for The Chemical Brothers and one that pays off.

- Brian Kinsella