The beginning of Come With Us, a tense buildup full of anticipation and expectation, would be just perfect for the introduction of a heavyweight champion entering the ring.
And in a way, the first seconds of the Chemical Brothers' fourth full-length album do just that. The duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons has occupied the dance world's top tier for some time now.
After releasing three albums (1995's Exit Planet Dust, 1997's Dig Your Own Hole and 1999's Surrender) that ranged from absolutely solid to just plain brilliant, the Chems have certainly kept their footing. Once again, they have taken the initiative, inviting listeners to accompany them through new sonic territory. Rowlands and Simons are master beat-smiths, always ready to rumble, whether using complex break-beat rhythms, strains of hip hop or funky house music.
Come With Us has its share of fantastic dance tracks. "It Began In Afrika," with its layered percussion and chilling jungle effects, is probably the most well-known. Then there's "Star Guitar," which is as celestial as the title suggests.
Thankfully, the album isn't just a monotonous jumble of banging club anthems. The Chemical Brothers have continued to act upon the realization that successful full-length dance LPs require producers to mix things up.
Come With Us has both its uppercuts and light jabs, as Rowlands and Simons don't feel the need to always pummel the listener. Covering extra ground is "The State We're In," a downbeat track featuring the ethereal vocals of Beth Orton, with whom the Chemical Brothers have worked before. The song is one of the mellower alternatives to the loud, energetic tracks.