Brotherhood is, well, a bit odd really. While there's no denying that The Chemical Brothers are a completely tremendous singles act what with 16 years of some amazing Grammy-winning albums, chart-toppers and possibly the best live show spectacle imaginable, but a second Best Of in the space of five years seems a bit bleedin' cheeky. Sure, there's new tunes Keep My Composure, which features Spank Rock, and the single Midnight Madness, and recent hits Galvanize and Do It Again, but there's not really anything to tempt anyone who's already got the last compilation.
However, the second disc piggy-backing this release is Electronic Battle Weapons 1-10, and that's where the excitement starts to kick in. Since 1996, Tom & Ed have been road testing various tracks in the natural environments of the rave-up, and released these rare-as-hens-teeth tracks as club-friendly promos. Presumably they would hide behind tinted glass with clipboards monitoring the reactions of the punters, working out the angle of shapes thrown and jot down possible improvements.
For a Chems fan, having these tunes together in one place is a bit of a Holy Grail. Admittedly the internet age has taken the edge off the exclusivity of later EBWs - both 8, 9 and now 10 (which is the full version of Midnight Madness) have been knocking around the blogs, but earlier tracks such as EBW1 & 2 (aka the Dig Your Own Hole highlights It Doesn't Matter and Don't Stop the Rock) and 5 (It Began In Afrika) are possibly far more thrilling in their full versions. Acting like challengers to the crowd to up the mental and see if they can handle going further.
In that context, Brotherhood makes complete sense. A handy introduction to them as a colossal pop force combined with a testament to their power over the dancefloor. Long may they reign. --Ian Wade
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Chemical Brothers The - Brotherhood (Best) - cod:7252