Remember, if you can, the ’90s: When electronic music took over
ByCRISTINA JALERU Associated Press
September 7, 2023, 4:33 PM
“For The Beautiful Feeling,” The Chemical Brothers (Republic Records)
Remember, if you can, the ‘90s: When the popularity of rock bands waned and electronic music dominated. By the time techno and acid house had taken dancefloors by storm, The Chemical Brothers were already pioneers of the big beat genre. That spirit continues on the British duo’s 10th studio album, “For The Beautiful Feeling.”
Back in the day, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons’ “Hey Girl Hey Boy” and “Galvanize” electrified the airwaves. As EDM ebbed and flowed — to this reporter’s ears, becoming a cultural marker only to gently fade into the foreground as niche, easy listening — The Chemical Brothers’ innovative music never wavered. They continue to find the less obvious beats and harmonies on “For That Beautiful Feeling”; they’ve never lost their “it” factor.
The 11-track record is a dreamy otherworldly vibe, reflecting its title to a tee. Recorded in their close-to-the-coast studio in England, one can almost feel the chill descend on one’s shoulders as the music lifts one up. It’s your favorite Chemical Brothers tracks with a twinge of timelessness and a dash of angelic vocals from artist Halo Maud, who features on three tracks: “Live Again,” a syncopated study in hypnotism; “No Reason,” a nice bass ’70s funk thrown in with reverbs and cheerful “woo;” and “The Darkness That You Fear,” which envelopes with multi-instrumental vacation sounds, all of which benefit from Maud’s collaboration.
Elsewhere, a track like “The Weight” struts in like a vintage police film chase, while “Fountains” is the musical embodiment of that dancefloor badass in a leather jacket. “Skipping Like a Stone” brings a collaboration from the alt-rock favorite Beck, the band’s second since 2015’s “Wide Open.”
Together, the songs, disparate and fun, articulate together a beach marquee that lets you dream assured under the sun, next to the sea.
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