Review Summary: The Brothers attempt to create musical fusion fails somewhere along the line...
When the Chemical Brothers are at full steam, there is no way of stopping their ingenious music. They have moments when the world is suddenly at their finger tips, but other moments when the Brothers haven't got a clue where to begin, and are eventually lost in their own faults. However, you can't judge a book by its cover, and most certainly can't judge it by its style of execution either.
"Come With Us" hits the high note with the opening track of the same name, and kicks off a swift violin intro that eventually turns into a buzzing electronic wheel. "Come with us, and leave your Earth behind..." You know you're in for something big. The energy of the song is amazing, with more of the high-pitched whizzing noises and low-tempo dialogue. "It Began In Afrika" is the club filler of the album, with some rapid heart-pounding electronica that takes us back to the early eighties, including repeated animal noises thumping along to the bassline in the background.
Then when you think it couldn't get any better, you are hit with the bounce beats of "Galaxy Bounce", a definite but short and sweet track to jam to while driving. Although, the turning point of the album happens halfway between the track, and hits us with the lead single and highlight of the album, "Star Guitar". The Chemical Brothers re-invent the big beat design of their glory days and channel the power into one massive dance song. The intro of the track starts off with a loop of various up-tempo string and drum beats, then rises into a synchronized opera house anthem. A spectacular track, which I think is one of the best from the Brothers in years.
"Hoops" follows up the rapid track, but doesn't pan out as much. Expect some more diverse string and flute tunes to flow with the booming bassline, while the Brothers attempt to re-create their smash hit "Under The Influence". From here, the album takes a big downhill run, with the follow-up tracks "My Elastic Eye"and "Denmark" that offer great substance in detail, but nothing as groundbreaking. "The State We're In" is the first song on the album to have a featured artist, and Beth Orton's mellow voice does little to impress.
"Pioneer Skies" is a 4-minute loop of big beat magic without explanation. It soon follows up the outro to the album, "The Test" featuring Richard Ashcroft. The vocal work is good, but to a point where it starts sounding like a gospel church song. On the other hand, the detail to the sampling is exellent. It was neatly polished and remixed several times, but cuts it short with a so-and-so guitar riff that makes it a bit repetitive to listen to after a while.
While some tracks (Star Guitar, Come With Us, It Began In Afrika) stand out from the album, its not enough to save the other songs from failing. Then to conclude, The Chemical Brothers yet again deliver another album with "Hey, wasn't that song on a TV ad?" moments fused with some old-house big beat music. Its not block rockin' all around, but a great attempt nonetheless.