sun 03/03/2024

Album: The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling | reviews, news & interviews

Album: The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling

Album: The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling

Longstanding dance duo maintain juggernaut status on mighty tenth

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The Chemical Brothers are unstoppable. Their live shows are a guaranteed monster good time, redolent of proper old-school rave-ups, but with visual tech from some freaky eye-boggling future. Their last album, 2019’s No Geography, was a total belter. Their latest, their tenth, is also a total belter. They do what they do. But they do it so bloody well.

For That Beautiful Feeling sees them finding new detail, new depth, new ways to make what they do fresh again. It’s riveting, full of verve. Dismissed by those that don’t know as a retro turn, the truth is that The Chemical Brothers, despite their longevity, are consistently one of the country’s most exciting musical units.

Where the new album differentiates from their last is that No Geography made a point of dabbling in old synthesizers; For That Beautiful Feeling undoubtedly involves analogue kit, but also twists about in a more modernist fashion. For instance, on some songs the vocal lines are twitched about in a manner vaguely akin to Oneohtrix Point Never. Similarly, there’s a kind of deranged take on contemporary pop deep within the bouncing sci-fi hip-house pummelling of “Magic Wand” or the squalling in-yer-face cavities of “Goodbye”.

I was never much into those Chemical Brothers’ cuts where they pulled in an indie singer for crossover appeal, so don’t miss those, although there is one here, a lesser track, “Skipping Like a Stone”, featuring Beck The other guest vocals come from Heavenly Records’ French alt-pop act Halo Maud, who steps up for the swirling thumper “Live Again” and the closing floating-off-into-space title track, but these hit as natural and unforced within the greater scheme of things.

Elsewhere “The Weight” revisits Leave Home-era beats, “Feels Like I Am Dreaming” is a festival banger of the highest order, based around the title phrase said by a young woman (advertising synch rights sorts, note that she makes it sound just like "I feel like Orangina”), and “No Reason” is “Oof!”-inducing electro-funk of the kind you’d have to be dead not to respond to on a dancefloor. There’s plenty more where those came from, elevating and exhilarating. That’s what The Chemical Brothers do. And this is another whopper!

Below: Watch the video for "Liva Again' by The Chemical Brothers featuring Halo Maud

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