Fun as hell
Its admirable that in 2019 an aging electronica group can release music that doesn’t lean on trendy new motifs or stick too close to past formulas. The Chemical Brothers take their old sound and add a level of depth and detail missing from their last venture Born In the Echos. Their new album No Geography is so successful because of its blend of nostalgic electronics and grooves intermingled with a subtle but modern experimentalism.
Songs like “Eve of Destruction” feature vintage vocoded vocals over a club popping house beat. The genius is in the subtle changes in both vocal melodies and instrumentation to keep the music fresh and sticky. Not only does the song never lull, it leads right into “Bango” with a head banging bongo line. The whole album flows seamlessly which is no easy feat, and while the energy between two tracks can stay equally fiery, beats will change up, synths and basslines will totally flip and you will hardly notice where these changes happen.
“No Geography” gives us a short break from the synth fueled dance party, but only for a second. The drums are powerful, the synths melodies fill the void with cinematic emotion, and a clever sample reminds us that we are connected as one force, no geography. “Gravity Drops” is a slower, more experimental exercise. The actual bass drop instead of being cliché and adding energy, slows the track down even more and instead adds a swirling cocktail of atmospheric noisy glitches.
“We’ve Got to Try” is the closest the brothers get to modern trap on the album, the hip-hop beat is accented with short sub bass hits and a squelching acid bass line. The perfectly placed samples add a level of depth and give the track structure. “Catch Me I’m Falling” ends the album with a slow pop ballad, competent reverb-soaked vocals are surrounded by morphing alien synths and beautiful gated melodies. The mixing is fuzzy and organic giving the music a dense analog quality.
All in all, No Geography is a dance music must listen. Its nostalgic but futuristic, fun but serious, accessible and weird as hell. The mixing has analog depth, the vocals and samples are used perfectly and each song has its own identity. Do your self a favor and put this on at your next house party.