Sometimes it’s a good thing to run an electronic music website. When I opened the mail to find a review copy of the Chemical Brother‘s latest, Brotherhood, it was one of those times.
Brotherhood is an unusual release. The box set comes with two CDs. The first CD is a greatest hits collection, spanning the CB’s 13 year career. It also comes with a new track, Keep My Composure.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Chemical Brothers put out their last greatest hits release, Singles 93-03. And there’s a lot of overlap between the two collections.
Judged for its own merits, disc one is clearly a great collection of some of the most influential electronic dance music of the last fifteen years. What’s really interesting with this release, though, is the second disc, which contains Electronic Battle Weapons 1-10.
According to the band, “Since 1996 Electronic Battle Weapons have acted as the laboratories for The Chems devious musical experiments and laid the rhythmic and melodic foundations for numerous tracks as well as providing some of the duos most formidable mixes. Until now Electronic Battle Weapons 1-9 have only been available on various limited formats and this is the first time they have been widely available.”
To these ears, Electronic Battle Weapons is some of the most interesting work that the Chemical Brothers have done. The tracks are much longer than their singles, giving them time to stretch out, and are less tied to traditional song structure than singles.
The tracks don’t stray far from the Chemical Brothers’ familiar style, but they seem to highlight the best facets of the group’s sound: massive beats, great synth basslines and aggressive noise effects. Highlights of the disc include Electronic Battle Weapon 4 (Freak of the Week), Electronic Battle Weapon 7 (Acid Children) and Electronic Battle Weapon 9.
Extra discs are often throwaway remixes and second rate tracks. With Brotherhood, the Chemical Brothers give you their greatest hits on disc 1 – but the best stuff is on disc 2.
Essential listening for Chemical Brothers fans.
02. Hey Boy Hey Girl
03. Block Rockin’ Beats
04. Do It Again
07. Let Forever Be (Featuring Noel Gallagher)
08. Leave Home
09. Keep My Composure (Featuring Spank Rock)
11. Out Of Control
12. The Golden Path – (Featuring The Flaming Lips)
13. Setting Sun – (Featuring Noel Gallagher)
14. Chemical Beats
1-10 Electronic Battle Weapons