When I had the pleasure of watching The Chemical Brothers at Creamfields a few years ago, one thing struck me (apart from the mind-bending visuals) about the duo. Their audience was massive (always to be expected when you headline a festival, sure) but it was also a combination of middle-aged veteran ravers who claimed to have been ‘watching these guys for twenty years’ and the younger, newer generation of Chemical Brothers fans who were shunning the more typical mainstream acts such as Avicii (who was live on the other main stage, at the same time as The Chemical Brothers) in favour of a dance music that was more unique, varied and unrestrained by commercial tastes of music. This is a testament to a pair of pioneers who take their place alongside other old-school electronic innovators such as The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim.
That’s the past however. Now, The Chemical Brothers are back with their ninth studio album and an international tour to promote it, with a number of these performances to be in the UK. ‘No Geography’ will be their first album since releasing ‘Born in the Echoes’ in 2015, an album that debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and was defined by popular tracks such as ‘Go’ featuring Q-Tip.
Keen not to keep us in the dark until the album’s release on 12th April, The Chemical Brothers have already released two tracks from the album, ‘Got To Keep On’ and ‘MAH’. ‘Got To Keep On’ was released on 31st January and is a euphoric but energetic track that borrows its groove from elements of EDM and disco, whilst possessing the usual psychedelic overtones that the duo are known for. Give it a listen below.
Perhaps ‘No Geography’ is an appropriate title for the duo’s latest album, as their music is so extraordinary and unorthodox that you can never really predict which way a Chemical Brothers song will go when you listen to it for the first time. Of course, that unpredictable nature just serves to make their latest album even more anticipated and fans eager to see what The Chemical Brothers have in store for their listeners.
Paradoxically, The Chemical Brothers (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons) are artists who are both mainstream successes (with six chart-topping albums to their name) with an alternative sound that’s style is not dictated by popular opinion but only by the pair themselves.
A press release to promote the ten-track album described the duo as having ‘pressed the reset button’ during their production of ‘No Geography’ and that ‘wherever possible, things were done differently’. It goes on to say ‘randomness and jagged edges were encouraged and songs were built around vocal samples’, with these voices becoming so influential that Tom and Ed ‘found themselves following wherever it led them’.
Initial music released so far from ‘No Geography’ would seem to suggest that this formula has been a success. In fact, the style of these tracks really is classic Chemical Brothers, a refreshing sound when compared to today’s mainstream dance music. Collaborators are often a vital part of their albums, with Norwegian singer/songwriter Aurora lending her vocals to the album and Japanese rapper Nene featuring on the track ‘Eve of Destruction’.
The Chemical Brothers are also embarking on an international tour, beginning in May and performing in the USA, Mexico and Europe but there will also be a number of performances in their native UK. Firstly, The Chemical Brothers will return to Creamfields to play there on Saturday 24th August before wrapping up with a UK tour in November. They will play at Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham, in that order.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to grab some tickets for one of these shows, then look no further at videos of their live shows to see what you’re missing. The Chemical Brothers are just as famous for their astonishing, psychedelic visuals. Make no mistake, watching The Chemical Brothers live is one hell of a trip. Their music and visuals take on an incredible, atmospheric quality that consumes the individual for the duration of the gig, instructing them to ‘don’t think, just let it flow’.
Sometimes words can never do justice however and you’re better seeing something to believe it. So here’s a live video for ‘MAH’, an electronic rollercoaster of a track with vocals and drops that would probably fit right at home in a nineties rave. As retro as that sounds, the audience here don’t seem to be complaining about it one bit.