Comprised of only two members – Tom Rowland and Ed Simmons – with six albums already under their belt, The Chemical Brothers have a pretty sturdy reputation for making quality, big beat electronic tracks. It’s safe to assume that their more recent music is held to a standard that the band set for themselves when they started consistently producing chart topping records. The pressure to improve exponentially has not seemed to serve as a hinderance to their creative juices; because with the release of the Brothers seventh album, Further, it is clear that they have delivered in congruence with expectations by creating eight mesmerizing segments to what is basically a record-long sound experiment.
Any recounting or assessment of Further seems as though it should be at least loosely structured around the order of the tracks, due to the impressive and consistent continuity of the album. There are almost no pauses or breaks in or between songs, and layers of beats often overlap until it becomes inconsequential which track you’re listening to and easier to classify each segment by it’s unique incorporation of the various electronics used by the Brothers.
In “Snow,” measured and almost angelic whispers of “your love keeps lifting me, lifting me higher, lifting me higher” initiate the sparse incorporation of lyrics or vocals into the album. Introduced with sporadic beeps and pulses the song eventually levels off into understated swells & releases that play off the varying tone and intention of the vocals of Rowland and Simmons. This creates a parallel, yet distorted, intertwinement that bleeds through the typical second-long break in-between tracks and does not diminish completely until a good minute into the next song, “Escape Velocity.” The momentum in this twelve minute long track builds periodically, taking a few minutes to rev-up in what I can only imagine as being a continuous inhale until the Brothers are satisfied with the amount of impetus and exhale into sound explosions. But what tickles my fancy most about this track is the words that it goes out with; “wow, that was some experience. Now just let me adjust the spacial controls and we’ll move to another observation point.” With that, they move onto “Another World.”
Though the album plays fluidly, with little to concretely distinguish the songs, “Horse Power” is perhaps the most distinctly independent track. Using samples of real horse neighing and carried by a hurried back beat, this is definitely a more deliberate execution of what was clearly a premeditated song nugget and less of an impromptu creation.
The abrupt appearance of drums and an assortment of percussion instruments on “K+D+B” contributes an entirely different dimension to the album. What starts out as a funk-inspired sound morphs into an electric ambience that is carried into the closing track, “Wonders of the Deep.” The amount of energy generated from the music propels the end of the sound-experiment into a cascading, synthesized harmony complete with climaxing percussions. After reaching these transcendent eruptions, the drums stop and the sound fades, leaving the listener with only a lingering sense of wonderment and the urge to press repeat.
By Lacey Smalldon