Gain a sense of what No Geography is like ahead of its release in April
Jack Beadle
17:30 29th March 2019

Gigwise were invited to be among the first to listen to The Chemical Brothers’ upcoming ninth studio album, No Geography, out 12 April on Virgin EMI Records. Here’s what we learned...

It is an 'album' album

The Chemical Brothers' previous album Born In The Echoes, great though it was, triumphed and suffered from its many different sounds and influences - a lack of cohesion. Their new record, out on 12 April and titled No Geography, feels much more a cohesive whole. The first few tracks segue into each other quite seamlessly, like they might at a Chemical Brothers live show. It begins with a statement, taking the listener on a winding trip, before closing majestically.

They're not resting on their laurels

With so much praise and success behind them, you might expect the duo to crank out a tried-and-trusted formulaic approach to their latter-day records. No such safety here: tracks like the opener 'Eve of Destruction', 'The Universe Sent Me' and 'Gravity Drops' twist and jump in style and pace, with a surprise at every turn.

They still use samples brilliantly

From the very start, ‘the chems’ have always been adept at combining synth knob-twiddling and crate digging samples to create something altogether new. 'We've Got To Try' being a key example on this record, but see also: 'Bango', with its Apache-sampling bongo breaks and cowbell mayhem before descending into a widdly, synthy groove.

They remember the rave

Title track 'No Geography' and already live favourite 'MAH' hark back to the glory days of rave and techno, whilst still pushing the envelope of how intense and interesting a drop can be. This nuanced tinge of nostalgia brings a smile to the listener's face, before slapping it with something completely fresh.

Space!

There is an overwhelming feeling of the cosmos on this record. Perhaps it was the inspiration behind the album's title? Bango's chipset beeps and the synth-led epic of No Geography set the tone ahead of tracks five and six; both spacey explorations in their unique ways. 'The Universe Sent Me' utilises sparkly synths which twinkle to give way to a four to the floor beat that builds and builds to another cosmic and epic deep space exploration, culminating in a cinematic climax. Yes!

The Chems know how to end a record

...and they always have done. 'The Private Psychedelic Reel', 'Surface To Air', 'Wonders Of The Deep': all anthemic closers to great TCB albums past. And No Geography is no exception. If 'MAH' is the violent ending, 'Catch Me I'm Falling' is the after life. An expansive number which invites you to reflect on the album that's just passed, tackling the ever-shifting vibe of the record with a resolute ‘album closer’ feel.

No Geography album tracklisting:

1. Eve Of Destruction
2. Bango
3. No Geography
4. Got To Keep On
5. Gravity Drops
6. The Universe Sent Me
7. We’ve Got To Try
8. Free Yourself
9. MAH
10. Catch Me I'm Falling

You can pre-order the album here.

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Photo: Chris Yeomans