Release Date: Sep 2, 2008
Record label: Astralwerks
Genre(s): Dance, Electronic
The U.K.’s biggest Big Beat stars remind us why they’re essentialDuring the mainstream “electronica” craze of the 1990s, the Chemical Brothers were avatars of Big Beat maximalism, alongside The Crystal Method, Fatboy Slim and others. This best-of album collects their most incendiary hits, from “Galvanize” (a swaggering anthem with Q-Tip on vocals) to “Setting Sun” (a psychedelic nightmare featuring Noel Gallagher), plus a solid new track (the acidy “Keep My Composure,” featuring Spank Rock). This high-impact compilation, brimming with sirens, hortatory drum rolls and spine-tingling stereo pans, helps us imagine what it might feel like to be a pinball.
The Chemical Brothers' second career-spanning compilation is basically a substitute for the first, including nine of the same tracks first reissued on 2003's Singles 93-03 and then making room for a few of the touchstones released between 2003 and 2008 (two of which are new to this collection). The early classics "Chemical Beats" and "Leave Home" are still among the best of their career, while "Block Rockin' Beats" and "Setting Sun" (featuring Noel Gallagher) found the mature Chemical Brothers quickly growing comfortable with a stadium-sized sound and profile. From there, the duo appeared to merely refine their approach, gathering in further psychedelic and house influences while they scored gradually more popular guests over the subsequent ten years.
Containing nine tracks from their Singles 93-03 collection, Brotherhood seems to be one for completists only. But the bonus disc, Electronic Battle Weapons 1-10, takes this into must-have territory. Designed to road-test new material, this hitherto limited-edition series is treasured by acid house fans. It's not hard to see why.
The Chems last collated their singles in 2004 heralded by the underrated Golden Path, featuring the Flaming Lips, which is deservedly included again on Brotherhood. Since then albums Push the Button and We Are the Night have produced the mighty Galvanize, featuring Q-Tip, and last year's Saturate, which proved they are still the masters of instrumental mutant dance. The duo once said they made "accidental pop records" and they have certainly hurled some strange music at the charts.