If anyone's suffering from new-year blues, Come With Us
will shake them out of their narcolepsy. This fantastic album roars out of the starting blocks like a supercharged dragster, blowing up a heady fume of hip-hop techno flavoured with the Chemical
's new found post-rave happiness. Their fourth album shows all the passion of their earlier works coupled with a sophistication beyond the mere wish to knock people's musical heads off. Impressively after over six years of making music and touring they've lost none of their enthusiasm. In fact their longevity seems to inspire them to greater achievement in a field that traditionally feeds off the new, the novel and the young. Best of all, the Brothers have developed the ability to communicate heartfelt emotions, evident on tracks such as the Beth Orton
sung "The State We're In", the Pink Floyd-like "Pioneer Skies" and magnificent album closer "The Test". That doesn't mean that there aren't the "traditional" Chemical Brothers' dancefloor killers. The opener and title track "Come With Us" is easily the pulsating equal of "Hey Boy Hey Girl" or 1995's "Block Rockin' Beats". Both already released singles, the bizarre "It Began in Afrika" and the Donna Summer-meets-Kraftwerk blur of "Star Guitar" are included in their original form. They're probably the album's weakest tracks. The Brothers have moved on, yet they're still as good as they were. Go with them. --Jake Barnes
The rallying cry inferred by the title of this album must be for the benefit of those who have missed the point all these years. With album number four the Chemical Brothers will surely persuade the remaining dozen or so people in the UK that don't like them that they are really rather good.
Prior to the release of this album we were teased as a dozen acetates of the acid tribal monster "It Began In Afrika" were leaked to the key players. Removing shrubs, laying concrete and generally paving the way for this album, "Afrika" conquered Ibiza, Notting Hill Carnival and contrived a craving amongst those with an affinity for a big, bouncy kick drum.
Come With Us delivers a further nine new tracks which elevate the Chemical's sound to a new vertex. The crunchy, slap bass and breakbeat swing of "Galaxy Bounce" motors out of "Afrika" and drifts in to the mighty, phased and diffused "Star Guitar".
Combining 'that beat' from "Planet Rock" and a sweet, Balearic hook "Hoops" does much to further the electro renaissance that seems to be rearing its retro, body popping head at the moment. The usual collaborative efforts take flight with Richard Ashcroft crooning for all he is worth on "The Test" and long term Brothers stalwart Beth Orton on the folky, psilocybin lament "The State We're In".
Production wise this album is less busy than previous releases - the ideas are given more space, allowing the variety and subtlety to do the work. Years ago Tom and Ed assured us 'the brother's gonna work it out'. If you've ever felt that they had yet to make good on this promise then, as far as Come With Us is concerned there was never a truer word spoken. --Andy Puleston
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