Having been dragged under the zeitgeist when the Big Beat craze fizzled out, the Chemical Brothers no longer have any claims to being the vanguard of a revolution; but that doesn’t mean their popularity has waned. They quickly sold out next weekend’s two Tokyo shows, thus necessitating an added blowout over near Disneyland (Feb. 13, Tokyo Bay NK Hall). People still dig their huge pounding sound.
On their new album, however, the Brothers continue to move in non-pounding directions. The Middle Eastern stringsample that grounds the single “Galvanize” is more delicious than Q-Tip’s rap, but it’s hip-hop nonetheless. The crunk gets even crisper on “Left Right,” in which guest MC Anwar Superstar intones over an irresistible syncopated military cadence that Timbaland might find too busy.
The softer slot filled by female voices like Beth Orton’s in the past is here occupied by doe-eyed indie band The Magic Numbers on the dreamy, bell-like “Close Your Eyes.” But diehards who come for the rock-funk will find enough to keep them satisfied; in particular, “Believe,” a seven-minute headbanger hooked to the hyperactive vocals of Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke. There’s something for everyone with a brain and a booty.
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