Into fresh territory with blend of old and new

Rave music from the 1990s is back on the ninth studio album by British electronic duo The Chemical Brothers, made up of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons.

Unlike their previous record Born In The Echoes (2015), which was chock-full of big-name guest features such as American rockers St Vincent and Beck, this album goes for less well-known acts including Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora and Japanese rapper Nene – who shine in their own right.

The characteristic deep bass lines and squelchy, alien-like sounds of the acid-house genre feature heavily on opening track Eve Of Destruction, complete with cold, machine-like vocals by Aurora and countered with warm, sultry rap verses by Nene.

It is a fascinating blend of old and new Chemical Brothers that continues into the next two tracks – the dancey, bongo drum-filled Bango and soaring, synth-filled title track No Geography. Even though they are distinct, all three tracks are barely distinguishable given how seamlessly they transition to one another.

Aurora’s haunting vocals also feature on multiple tracks, adding a consistent through line that tethers the record, which also frequently delves into retro-soul and funk genres.

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The Chemical Brothers

Virgin EMI

3.5 stars

Shimmering numbers such as Got To Keep On and We’ve Got To Try both heavily sample 1970s’ funk tunes.

But there are also downtempo numbers such as Gravity Drops and the vocally driven The Universe Sent Me, which is once again reminiscent of old-school Chemical Brothers material.

As much as the dance-music veterans are looking backwards and drawing on familiar elements of their 30-year career, it is apparent they are looking to the future as well.

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