Chemical Brothers | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chemical Brothers 

The late-90s big-beat fad pushed dance music into the U.S. mainstream--in the process providing car manufacturers with a decade's worth of music for their, err, racier commercials--but few of its anthems, and fewer of the musicians behind them, sound particularly good today. The Chemical Brothers are a notable exception, proving themselves time and again to be two of dance music's most appealing innovators. History will remember them for "Block Rockin' Beats"--one of the most ecstatically noisy songs to ever reach heavy rotation on MTV--but if their new album, We Are the Night (Astralwerks), is anything to go by, their best work may be ahead of them. The Brothers jump from the retro-lectro of the title track to the goofy, bouncy hip-hop of the Fatlip collabo "The Salmon Dance" to the meditative psychedelia of "The Pills Won't Help You Now" without once tripping up. And while there are no real standout singles to compete with the recent bumper crop of dance tracks out there, strung together these tunes make one of the best electronic albums of the year. Ladytron opens. a 8 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, $38, 18+. --Miles Raymer

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