If you're into dance music and you haven't heard of The Chemical Brothers, well, I was gonna say you gotta be livin' under a rock. Perhaps it might be more appropriate to tell ya to stop smokin' so much rock, and open your eyes. One of the many things plaguing the current entitlement generation is their keen ability to forget everything that happened before yesterday. Or maybe they just don't give a shit. As Spike Lee said in We Were Kings (the gripping documentary about Muhammed Ali and George Foreman's legendary face-off in Africa) "kids today, somethin' happens yesterday they know nothin' about it." Enter The Chemical Brothers: Time to take some peeps back to school. Born in the Echoes sounds modern and feels contemporary, but it manages to do so while paying homage to some of the classic sonic ingredients that made electronic dance music a cultural phenomenon: Ascending and descending synths (creating peaks and valleys), knockin' kick-drums, sultry, manipulated vocals, and symphonic fluidity.
But, perhaps more important than any of the brain drainage above: God dayum' this is a fun record. And the timing couldn't be better, as there seems to be a ton of shit happening in the world at the moment. Is it just me and my close friends, or do things seem particularly heightened lately? It feels like everyone is stressed-out non-stop. Must be some kinda planetary alignment/energy shift of some sort. Regardless - one of the few luxuries that brings me joy no matter what the state of the world may be is music. Though I listen to all sorts of differing genres (as a confessed music addict) I end up listening to electronic/symphonic music probably more than anything. Unfortunately I can't explain why - except to say that it usually ends up being the perfect soundtrack to life. Electronic music can be great for increasing motivation, exercise, driving, anything involving motion. Born in the Echoes is also a splendidly varied electronic journey, peppered with some wicked acid stabs and soulful grooves. So, not only have the Chems proved they haven't missed a freakin' step in the last 20+ years with Echoes, they've shown they know status means nothing unless they can still bring it. And baby, consider it brought...
About thirty/forty-somethin' bars into "Sometimes I Feel So Deserted" I knew they were coming out swingin'. Wise choice, considering the rest of the records varied musical stylings. The track's a club banger, straight-up, and once I had it BUMPIN' in my John Cooperworks Mini (via TIDAL and my JL Audio sound system) I couldn't help but pump my fist and jump around like a madman. If this doesn't get your blood pumpin' (provided you're into this sorta' thing) I'm not sure what will. They follow that up with "Go" - a track that I think was summarized best by @DavidsonAudio on Twitter - following a Tweet I sent out regarding the record:
Now, I will add to that and say following a floor-stomper with a funked out track sets up the perfect mood for the whole LP - as it may all be dance music, but the record is refreshingly diverse. From the bang of "Sometimes I feel So Deserted" to the rolling, pingin', grooving synths and kicks of "Under Neon Lights" to the anthemic vibe and bounce of "Wide Open" Born in the Echoes is a magnificent looking glass into the masterful landscapes that only The Chemical Brothers can paint sonically, with their years of experience and an obvious never-ending thirst and passion for, as Wayne Gretsky's dad put it: "where the puck is going, not where the puck is". Bottom line, if I may be so bold (or maybe even a bit silly) considering Papa Gretsky's words: Born in the Echoes is iced-out jack. And for those of you unfamiliar with the urban spin there: That means the record simply kicks fuckin' ASS. Most Highly Recommended.