After five albums, we know what to expect from a Chemical Brothers record. And Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons know how best to make them. “We’ve very much found our way of working,” says Tom. “And that’s having our own studio and experimenting for months and months, then collaborating with people when we have something that excites us. We still get a lot of enjoyment out of going into the studio. We still see it as a wondrous place where something magical can happen.”
On – œWe Are The Night’, their sixth studio LP, we get Canadian beat poet Bill Bissett reading his 1967 poem – œan ode to d. a. levy’ over a devastating psychedelic dance groove; Fatlip of early 90s West Coast rappers The Pharcyde explaining the life cycle of the salmon over a drunken beat in the quirkiest Chemical offering to date; fine collaborations with US singer-songwriter Willy Mason and up-and-coming Londoner Ali Love; the kind of innovative, dancefloor-destroying beats the Brothers have long been famed for; and two of the best songs they have ever produced with Jamie, James (Klaxons) and Dev (Lightspeed Champion) on the collaboration – œAll Rights Reversed’ and – œThe Pills Won’t Help You Now’ – a bleakly beautiful closer to the album, recorded with Tim Smith from Texas band Midlake.
“We don’t choose the hottest band when we’re looking for collaborators,” explains Ed. “We search deep for something that’s going to sound right on a particular piece of music, or just for an artist we really love and want to work with. And that helps us stay fresh, the fact that you can take it somewhere else. It’s like a new instrument. Lyrically, I think the album is really strong. It’s moved away from some of the constraints of dance music. We’re electronic artists, but Tom and I love classic song-writing: The Beatles, The Smiths, Bob Dylan. So we’re not afraid of a song, we don’t feel the need to bury it.”
So this is album number six. New sounds, strong songs, twisted melodies, changing emotions and devastating beats – something that’s just like the Chemical Brothers yet quite unlike anything you’ve heard from them or anyone else before. As I said at the start, you know what to expect of a Chemical Brothers album by now. Something that’s totally unexpected.
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