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The Chemical Brothers

Music: Response (Astralwerks)

Few dance acts have been as successful as the Chemical Brothers. Their third album, Surrender, topped the charts, won awards and culled the talents of fellow Mancunians Noel Gallagher, Bernard Sumner, Bobby Gillespie as well as Americans Hope Sandoval and Jonathan Donohue. Following the sold-out Surrenderworld tour, the EP Music: Response may be a total self-congratulatory wank, but it does show Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands's mastery of those block-rockin' beats.

Unlike other electronic musicians, the Chemicals don't mind vocals and guitars. "Out of Control" from Surrender sounded like New Order, so the duo decided to ask Sumner to sing vocals. In this way, the Chemicals are much more accessible than sample-based groups.

The electro "Music: Response" is most similar to the Chemicals' previous work. "Music: Response (Gentleman Thief Mix)" adds more percussive elements and revs up the dance beat. The groovy "Music: Response (Futureshock Main Response)" is a likely club hit. The real treasure, though, is "Enjoyed." Unabashedly techno with all sorts of whirrs and sparks, it's like music for computers.

Music: Response is a great little piece for collectors or rabid fans, but it's nowhere close to the versatility shown on Surrender.

 
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