The Chemical Brothers invite you to... Come With Us and party

Review by Jack Foley

ITS been three long years since The Chemical Brothers delivered their last album - the electrifying Surrender - so it is little wonder than anticipation had reached fever pitch as the release date for Come With Us approached in January 2002.

Needless to say, it has been worth the wait. While not quite as good as Surrender - which represented the brothers at their most diverse - Come With Us manages to combine the best of the old school, with some mixes of the new (when it is at its very best). Hence, it is far more dance-floor orientated than Surrender and likely to make a much bigger impact as a result.

A glimpse of what to expect was offered late last year with the release of It Began In Afrika, a pumped-up 'acid drenched' big beat thriller which went on for ages, while those who bothered to see the movie Tomb Raider may well recognise the equally busy Galaxy Bounce. New single, Star Guitar, with its blissful lyrical samples, guitar loops and fresh beats, is a real breath of fresh air and one which should be heard pumping from every stereo this summer.

But anyone thinking this is just a collection of breakbeat classics in the mould of earlier works such as Exit Planet Dust and Dig Your Own Hole should think again, for it is during the collaborations that Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons really get to show how far they have advanced. The State We're In, featuring the entrancing lyrics of Beth Orton (sounding like Sinead O'Connor), is a terrifically moody, even bluesy, interlude (and a welcome time-out from the heavier moments), evoking memories of the artistes earlier collaboration, Where Do I Begin (currently featured on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack).

And Richard Ashcroft, former lead singer of The Verve who put his voice to such good effect with UNKLE collaboration Lonely Souls, repeats the trick here for final track, The Test, a track which manages to sound like Primal Scream and The Rolling Stones all gelled into one.

Elsewhere, the Oakenfold-inspired Hoops, featuring samples from The Association recording 'Round Again' and the very chilled My Elastic Eye, featuring elements samples from Tic Tac Nocturne, also impress, while lazier efforts such as title track Come With Us or Denmark fail to register much at all.

Come With Us may not be as instantly accessible as Surrender, but as a collection of beats, samples and collaborations to rival the likes of young pretenders such as The Avalanches it has few equals. Fans will not be disappointed and should be tingling with anticipation at capturing the tunes live during the forthcoming Brixton dates.

Track listing:
1. Come With Us
2. It Began In Afrika
3. Galaxy Bounce
4. Star Guitar
5. Hoops
6. My Elastic Eye
7. The State We're In
8. Denmark
9. Pioneer Skies
10. The Test