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The Chemical Brothers
No Geography Ian Wade , April 12th, 2019 09:25

With guest vocals from Japanese rapper Nene and Norwegian singer/songwriter AURORA, The Chemical Brothers' latest, No Geography, is up there with their best, finds Ian Wade

Seven No.1 albums. That’s not fucking about, is it? The breaks between releases may get longer but the drive and enthusiasm has never let up. Not particularly an outfit to look back and dine on their past, No Geography actually sees the Chems revisiting some of the elderly equipment they used to come up with their first two albums, and creating a studio within a studio with the intent of making the old gear sing again. The results are funkier, spikier, more percussive and more doof than ever before.

Bypassing the ‘star’ names who’ve guested before, No Geography features Japanese rapper Nene on 'Eve of Destruction' and Norwegian singer/songwriter AURORA contributing vocals to several other tracks such as 'Bango' and 'The Universe Sent Me', somehow at times fighting, harnessing and often cheerleading the noise.

Featuring tracks road-tested over the last year or so in DJ sets and some of their biggest live shows yet, such as the heady 'Free Yourself' hooked around samples from the late ’60s experimental Dial-A-Poem project, MAH’s key refrain becoming a looped earworm whenever you see what the binfire that the outside world is up to, and the sheer joyous boogie abandon of 'Got to Keep On' – all working and blending magnificently with the ‘oldies’ into the set. You know that tracks such as the joyous acid of 'We Got To Try' and the clanking 'Bango' will fit effortlessly in to.

It’s a bold claim to suggest No Geography with its reasonably brief (for them) 46 minutes is up there with the controlled chaos and warped psychedelia of their earlier work, but it is. With its unifying themes of freedom, unity and attack, channelled via the medium of boom and sirens, it really is. After the best part of 30 years, there’s still no one else like them. Amazing.

No Geography by The Chemical Brothers is available now