is the first Chemical Brothers
album without a guest vocalist since their debut. Consequently, with no worries about crafting tracks around a Q-Tip
or a Richard Ashcroft
, the duo has full freedom to focus on enveloping listeners in the sound world usually just experienced at shows -- although, naturally, without the lights and atmosphere to accompany the music. After a beatless first track titled "Snow," the 12-minute single "Escape Velocity" approximates a rocket launch, the impressive effects continually rising over the first few minutes until the beat kicks in with full force. The effects and distortion would do Kevin Shields
or Sonic Boom
proud, while the lockstep beats, when they do come in, are practically an anticlimax.