It doesn’t seem like so long ago that Los Hermanos Quimicos, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, were the innovators of the self proclaimed Big Beat scene. I remember songs on Exit Planet Dust and Dig Your Own Hole and even on Surrender, on which the Brothers were working it out, changing the landscape of music with their addictive block rockin’ beats. They had their musical compadres like Beth Orton, Noel Gallagher, Tim Burgess, Hope Sandoval, Bernard Sumner and Richard Ashcroft lifting their hyper-spaced out rhythms with memorable lyrics in such classic songs as “Where Do I Begin,” “Setting Sun” and “Out of Control.”
What Tom and Ed don’t realize is their scene is so over that we’re now using our glow sticks to help find our lost car keys in a parking lot in the dark. The boys seem stuck in the past to be like a bunch of post modern dinosaurs trying to bring up the noise to a dying rave party scene for the 90’s Jurassic Park generation. And you know what? I’m not buying it.
It’s bad enough that the Chemical Bros, ten years later, are trying to recycle old rhythms with no effect what so ever. “Believe” is a new song that drags and drags — have these guys ever heard of an edit? It sounds like an American blockbuster with beats, lots o’ noise and says nothing at all. It’s quite sad, kind of like those aging hippie rock tours that some Woodstock parents would go to in the eighties. Even Tim Burgess’s appearance can’t save “The Boxer.” It tries to recycle a hip ’70s funk like vibe but it just goes round and round and round—all hype with no musical connections at all. All I know is that I won’t be going to some all night party in the desert to see these guys anytime soon. If this is the music they are trying to push… give me a roll of E, some Chicago Deep House white label music and a Vicks pacifier and that would do it for me.
There is one shining spot on this long drawn out disappointment of a record and that’s the Q-Tip fronted single “Galvanize.” The only reason this song survives is because of the lyrical stylings of Q-Tip. Even with the cool funky rhythms that still seem to echo “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” from Surrender, the only reason this song is a highlight is the Tip. Just like his role in R.E.M.’s “The Outsiders,” Tip’s message is political as he raps “World/my finger is on the button…the time has come to Galvanize!” It’s a calling to arms to everyone in all the musical nations to stand up and make noise to fight the powers that be.
But sadly that is it, just one redeeming song on this drawn out album that should have been dubbed Press the Pause Button. Could it be that I’m just getting old? Nah. It’s just that the only people making waves in the dance music scene are artists like !!!. The Chemical Brothers have to go back to the drawing board or just disconnect their decks and maybe give it up for a while. It seems like their partner in crime, Norman Cook a.k.a. Fatboy Slim, is having the same problem as his album Palookaville was also a major league flop. I guess this means that Big Beat’s legacy is heading to towards extinction. Oh well, we had fun while it lasted, but this party’s over. Take two aspirins and just chill out for a while, will ya?
Fatboy Slim – Palookaville
Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash
Chemical Brothers – Come With Us