Itstarts with what sounds like an alien morse code transmission; Earth bound signals bouncing off the side of orbiting space debris. Snatches of voices found out in the ether cut through the machine fog, drifting across burbling analogue equipment lovingly kept working long after supposed sell-by date. By the time the click and thump of snare and bass drum arrive, the sounds are all-encompassing, swirling around you with dizzying, disorientating effect. Noises come untethered by constraints of volume, seemingly leaping from the speakers with a life of their own. For a band used to dealing in psychedelics, this time round The Chemical Brothers have really pushed the proverbial envelope.
Nearly three years on from the release of their fifth consecutive UK Number 1 “We Are The Night”, “Further” sees Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons explore the boundless possibilities of their sound. Taking a trip through four decades of electronic noise, Tom & Ed have taken the template set up with their occasional “Electronic Battle Weapon” releases and allowed them to mutate gloriously into an entire album. Voice samples and snatches of vocals are woven through tracks to create a record that ebbs and flows like one of the band’s legendary live sets. Here, West Coast power pop harmonies sit beside German Motorik rhythms while Valentines-esque sonic manipulations plane across the top of early house basslines. “Further” is the culmination of nearly two decades of psychedelic exploration, an immersive collection that finds The Chemical Brothers at their least-restrained and most-melodic best.
As well as an eight-track album, “Further” is the band’s first proper partnership with long-time visuals collaborators Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall. Now as respected TV and film director (recently having completed the first episode of the forthcoming series of Doctor Who) Adam – aka Flat Nose George – has been responsible for creating the visual backdrop for every Chemical Brothers gig since their live debut in 1994. Visuals for “Further” have been created to correspond with each track on the album and have been planned during the recording of the record.