For a duo so tied in the public mind to a specific time and place (circa 1997, when electronica didn’t become American pop’s next big thing), The Chemical Brothers have continued to reinvent themselves. Further, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons’ seventh album, sounds something like a return to the old school—meaning, in this case, the kind of take-you-on-a-journey albums common in early-’90s techno. There’s a sense of awe to these tracks, down to titles such as “Escape Velocity” and “Swoon”—like the Brothers were trying to recapture what it was like to take ecstasy for the first time. Further builds on the last ChemBros album, 2007’s We Are The Night, in the sense that much of that album’s OMG-smiley-face sensibility—when it wasn’t downright twerpy—finds its way onto this one. But here, Rowlands and Simons have a tighter grip on the material—an odd thing to say about an album with eight tracks built to sprawl, maybe, but Further really does flow from beginning to end, just the way its makers intended it to. (They’re even offering mini-movies for each track on iTunes.) There are as many non-electronic touches as ever: “K + D + B” is a bustling krautrock drum groove overlaid with what sound like distorted bagpipes, not to mention a flurry of flown-in voices all over. Further lives up to its title.
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