Album: Exit Planet Dust
Artist: The Chemical Brothers
Label: Junior Boy's Own (Virgin Records Limited)
Summary: Cut and pasted beats that you can dance to. Good, but not great.
The first half of this album is a big blur: there are no individual songs to speak of, just one long piece of music with several movements, all mixed in together. This isn't surprising given that the Chemical Brothers started out as DJs. The result consists of heavy beats that you can't help but dance to, some synthesiser tweaking and lots of samples. Even the very first sound on the album is taken from Kraftwerk's Ohm Sweet Ohm, which is soon joined by a sample from Blake Baxter's Brothers Gonna Work It Out.
This music, which feels more like a long, improvised jam than anything else, culminates with Chemical Beats. With its squeaky acid riff, it's the classic Chemical Brothers track. The whole first half of the album suddenly seems like it has merely been there to lead up to it.
Once that's over with, the album mellows out for the most part, with some pleasant tracks to give you a much needed rest. Even in these laid back pieces of music, however, the melodies and harmonies still take a back seat to the beats and the samples.
The two songs present - Life Is Sweet and Alive Alone - provide a good contrast to the blur of continuous instrumentals, while blending in with the general aesthetic of the album surprisingly well.
Exit Planet Dust can get a bit too repetitive in places for my liking. It would probably have been better off without Playground for a Wedgeless Firm, which is just a looped drumbeat and filter sweep with and a handful of seemingly unrelated bars of music looped over the top of it. It highlights the simplistic overall feel of the album, sounding like the Chemical Brothers overused the copy and paste feature of their sequencer.
Overall, this is still a good album, and certainly gets you in the mood to move your body. It's by no means a classic, though.