The Chemical Brothers - Brotherhood
Review by Jack Foley
SIXTEEN years, 10 million record sales and five consecutive No.1 albums – not to mention four Grammy awards – would seem the perfect time to take stock of The Chemical Brothers’ impressive career… but Brotherhood, a new Best Of, makes no claims to being the definitive historical document of Tom and Ed’s career so far.
It is not the time capsule version that will be left and dug up in centuries to come. Rather, Brotherhood is “the Friday night collection” – 15 upbeat dance anthems from Tom and Ed’s illustrious back catalogue that are designed to get the dancefloor throbbing.
It’s a best of collection with a kick and a twist, featuring some surprise selections, some odd misses and a bonus CD of rare gems that really do represent the icing on the cake for all Chemical Brothers fans!
Disc one is the more formulaic selection of hits, offering 13 of their benchmark singles as well as the new track Keep My Composure, featuring the shimmering flow of Baltimore’s Spank Rock.
If anything, it does show how Tom and Ed have mixed things up to keep things fresh over the years – albeit not entirely successfully.
The big beat thrill of early hits such as Leave Home and Chemical Beats have seldom been bettered, replaced instead by more disappointing contemporary crowd-pleasers that reflect Tom and Ed’s wish to be as current in the super-clubs of Ibiza as they are on the indie dancefloor scene.
Hence, Do It Again is a sub-standard offering, as is – unfortunately – the new track, Keep My Composure, which rolls out quite a bland slice of rhythm and electronica. Spank Rock’s vocals do little to enliven it.
That said, Brotherhood does also boast some classic collaborations from the past, such as Noel Gallagher’s blistering vocals on Let Forever Be and Setting Sun, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip on stone-cold classic Galvanize and The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne on The Golden Path.
There’s a cool slice of psychedelia on the timeless Star Guitar to look out for as well.
Electronic Battle Weapon (Disc 2)
Alongside disc one, Brotherhood also features an exclusive second disc of Electronic Battle Weapons 1-10 – the real reason for owning this latest compilation.
Since 1996, Electronic Battle Weapons have acted as the laboratories for Tom and Ed’s devious musical experiments and laid the rhythmic and melodic foundations for numerous tracks as well as providing some of the duos most formidable mixes.
Previous EBWs have morphed into It Began in Afrika, Under the Influence and latterly Saturate but, until now, they’ve only been available on various limited formats. This is the first time they have been widely released.
It’s 75 minutes of pulse-pounding dance music – a sweaty blend of experimentation and the familiar that really does keep you dancing for the duration of its running time.
Not everything clicks, of course, and the first three offerings aren’t as pronounced as the likes of It Began In Afika but if you just kick back and allow the vibe to whisk you along, you’ll be in for a full-on treat that – more than anything – captures the Friday night collection they were seeking to deliver.
Taken as a whole, it’s rousing stuff and evidence of why The Chemical Brothers continue to be at the forefront of the dance scene (hits and misses alike).
Download picks: Galvanize, Block Rockin’ Beats, Star Guitar, Let Forever Be, Setting Sun, Saturate, Chemical Beats
- Electronic Battle Weapon 1
- Electronic Battle Weapon 2
- Electronic Battle Weapon 3
- Electronic Battle Weapon 4
- Electronic Battle Weapon 5
- Electronic Battle Weapon 6
- Electronic Battle Weapon 7
- Electronic Battle Weapon 8
- Electronic Battle Weapon 9
- Electronic Battle Weapon 10