The Chemical Brothers
Brotherhood


3.5
great

Review

by StreetlightRock EMERITUS
September 1st, 2008 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dirty electro? Go for your life.

It’s almost hard to remember a time when electro wasn’t dirty. When electro-pop was just plain electro and florescence wasn’t associated with V-necks but the rather more mundane and innocent signpost. A time when it hadn’t been rolled about in the filth of cookie-cutter top 40 songwriters looking for the latest big trend to latch on to, which, in our woesome state of contemporary radio affairs, is electro. Dirty, filthy f’ucking electro. ‘Musical purists’ (read: certain wankers) have of course always got their panties into knots over the genre, preferring instead to mildly bop their heads within ivory dance rooms of House and Minimal; electro was always just that tad bit too pop. What they always forget however, is that it was never meant to be ‘intelligent’ or ‘provoking’ - it was meant to be f'ucking awesome. Ten ton beats played out across multi-colored dance floors, rippling lights briefly illuminating a lesbian couple making out among the mass of dancing, sweating bodies, the fashionistas, never dancing, but always looking cool – this was where big beat was meant to be played out. And for a while there, it was.

Enter The Chemical Brothers. After a couple of years of playing in club backrooms, their 1995 debut Exit Planet Dust threw them into the starlight along with fellow beatsters The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Crystal Method. Big Beat back then was fresh. Not weighed down by the dark ambience and headache inducing Trance of the early 90s, Big Beat reveled in bombastic hip-hop and funk bass lines, a screeching siren call shamelessly screaming out to a generation of white boys who wanted to be black but just couldn’t quite make the cut. This, well…. This was perfect. With enough groove to wash out a dance floor, the musical reclamation could take place, and The Chemical Brothers were there riding the wave hard and fast. A near decade and a half later then, a two disc retrospective (one of greatest hits and another of ‘experimental’ b-sides) like this one comes off like looking down the throat of musical royalty, a collection of crown jewels adored by dance fans the world over. Question is, how shiny have they remained"

Well, it depends really. Leading tracks Galvanize, Hey Boy Hey Girl and Block Rockin’ Beats set to remind the audience that the Chemical Brothers, despite their seemingly timeless endurance have always been and still are, very much on top of the electro-rap trend. Deep funk lines mixed with raving electro beats throw the listener right in the Brothers’ world from the get go, a reminder to why this duo once ruled the kingdom of dance. Leave Home, Saturate and Setting Sun (Featuring Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame) also help to tear up whatever dance floor Brotherhood may be spun on as well. Still, there are misses here too, like Star Guitar and its new age, lounge ambience never quite going anywhere, or The Golden Path, which is just plain rubbish.

Fans will be on the lookout too, for the new track Keep My Composure, possibly the epitome of recent electro movement – not that its particularly a great song, but with its roving, heavily distorted bass and fuzzily slow hand claps for beats, its everything an electro kid could ever ask for. While guest vocalist Spank Rock is undoubtedly the hippest MC out there, his wicked style is somewhat cramped by a mediocre song, which is a bit of shame as well. Like all compilations, Brotherhood is fairly weak at keeping itself cohesive, but hell, it’s to be expected from the greatest hits of a band whose career spans more than a decade. It’s a worry perhaps that in aiming to please everyone, the Chemical Brothers might have done the exact opposite, sacrificing some of their earlier and more popular hits in favor of variety. But even there, the Brothers refuse to disappoint:

This of course, brings us to our second disc, a collection of the ten Electronic Battle Weapons, the Brothers’ experimental chemical playgrounds. While they’ve all been around before in one form or another, this is the first time they’ve been put together collectively on disc, and to put it bluntly: These. Tracks. Are. MONSTERS. Like, absof'uckinglutely huge. Venturing into the domains of fellow dancemasters Orbital and Underworld, the Chemical Brothers throw away their pop aesthetic and embrace a far less accessible, but an infinitely more awesome mix of techno and acid-house orientations. Geared around relentless, plodding beats and repeated melodies, with delicate shifts and electronic effects pitching throughout the music, the Electronic Battle Weapons here are at once saturating and absorbing - giant laser rays, if you will, rather than the bullet quick singles of disc one.

While they may take a while to warm up, the Electronic Battle Weapons don’t jump and shout for attention like their disc one counterparts, with the early numbers (#1 to #6) relying instead on slow subtlety and immersion to get the job done. Weapons #3 and #5 are especially potent, with their repeated vocal lines guaranteed to get stuck like thorns in a listener’s head, while Weapons #7 - #10 serve as the thundering crescendo of this historical audio trek, their electric blows finding themselves at full force here. Notably, Weapon #10 (the template for lead single Midnight Madness) takes a leaf out of recent electro trends, most notably in the vein of Justice, incorporating messy, screaming synth lines with a heavy but catchy bassline and weaving its way though carefully constructed electronic melodies before fading into its end of spacey ambience.

So no, The Chemical Brothers haven’t exactly ‘done it again’, ‘cause it all been done before, but with the Electronic Battle Weapons all laid out in collection here, the hits disc may as well be the bonus disc instead. It’s a nicely packaged little glimpse into the biggest dance hits in the world, a little bit rocky in places, but solid nonetheless. Dirty electro" Go for your life.

Disc 1 – 3.4/5
Disc 2 – 4.2/5
Overall – 3.7/5



Recent reviews by this author
Finch EpilogueThe Saddest Landscape You Will Not Survive
How to Dress Well Love RemainsLydia Assailants
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse Dark Night of the SoulM.I.A. Maya
user ratings (34)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
MrHell (3)
What tempted Tom and Ed to release another greatest hits album only after 5 years and 2 bad albums?...



Comments:Add a Comment 
StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 1st 2008


3900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sorry it's so long but this is the first time these are two very different discs.. The Second sounds so much like a faster Orbital its crazy.This Message Edited On 09.01.08

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

bastard
September 1st 2008


3432 Comments


Good review, not a big electro guy though.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
September 1st 2008


4939 Comments


nice dude

badtaste
September 2nd 2008


824 Comments


What bastard said. Very nice review, but I've never been much into this scene.

AggravatedYeti
September 2nd 2008


7684 Comments


righteous dude.
Chem's were always good in small doses -- so a hit's comp seems like it would suit them well. They do have some boss tracks here, and I'm excited to hear these "Electronic Battle Weapons".

TheAztec
September 2nd 2008


7 Comments


Edit: It's actually tasteful, sorry. This Message Edited On 09.02.08

AggravatedYeti
September 2nd 2008


7684 Comments


^ agreed

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 2nd 2008


3900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fair enough! woo for the feature! =)

plane
Emeritus
September 2nd 2008


6867 Comments


Great review.

poweroftheweez
September 3rd 2008


1295 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Awesome review. Not a 4 in my book, as it started to lose my interest around Let Forever Be on the first disc.

Picked it up very quickly with the second disc.

MrHell
September 3rd 2008


157 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Other than the awesome EBW's this release never really make sense to me at all. "Push The Button" and "We Are The Night" never have enough hits to stimulate a new "best of" album.



It would've been better if this was only released specifically for the Electronic Battle Weapons (and "Keep My Composure". Awesome song). The rest is nothing new or groundbreaking.This Message Edited On 09.03.08

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 3rd 2008


3900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guess, I dunno, I sort of see this as the swan song of the Chemical Brothers, I'm sorta hoping they stop after this in a way. I mean, it was the EBWs that really pushed this up for me, and as an introduction to the CB, I think it's a good overview of their career. I can see that fans would be disappointed, and thats fair enough, but the point of the album isn't supposed to be new or groundbreaking.



The fact that I can have both hits AND the EBWs is cool in itself and give this extra brownie points too. I guess I was sorta lax when reviewing this in terms of the context of the CB discography, but as a pure collection of music, both discs together are a really good buy I think (assuming you don't have their earlier work). We're judging this from different perspectives, but thats ok =)

robin
Emeritus
September 3rd 2008


4438 Comments


i really love the appearance of wayne coyne on the golden path. i haven't heard the rest, might do. great review.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 3rd 2008


3900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you! But I dunno, The Golden Path just feels so out of place and it never really goes anywhere. =/ Check out disc 2 at the very least!

Chewie
September 3rd 2008


4536 Comments


hmm, Chemical Brothers are pretty good, but judging from the past albums and the overall average of this one sitting at a 3, I really am waiting for them to just hit one out of the park.

MrHell
September 4th 2008


157 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

both discs together are a really good buy I think (assuming you don't have their earlier work). We're judging this from different perspectives, but thats ok =)




No problem. I'm a very big fan of the Chemical Brothers, but it just seemed pretty pointless releasing this (other than the EBW's). "Singles 93-03" was pretty good, and I really enjoy their older big-beat work. The newer albums were too mainstream for my tastes, but I did enjoy "Midnight Madness" and "Keep My Composure" on this one.



Its not a bad album, but the EBW disc totally makes it what it is.



sitandtalk
September 6th 2008


22 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I believe this album is great for new post-push the button fans like me, to have. great compilation.

DhA
September 10th 2008


421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't have any of hteir other stuff before, but obviously I'd heard a lot of the singles on here so that was good stuff, and the Electronic Battle Weapons were all new to me, and now I find myself listeneing to them more than the singles.......good stuff.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 10th 2008


3900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, the EBMs totally make this album for me. The singles are nice and all, but like I said, they're the bonus tracks, tbh.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy