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The Chemical Brothers latest album has been available on IRC since early December 2001, courtesy of an early bootleg released under its working name 'Chemical Four'.  About this time, a handful of pre-release copies were sent to a select group of top-name DJs, including Sasha and Paul Okenfold.  The rest of the public had to wait until the 28th January 2002, when the legit album was released to the public as 'Come With Us'.  Below is the track list:

Come With Us
It Began In Afrika
Galaxy Bounce
Star Guitar
Hoops
My Elastic Eye
The State We're In
Denmark
Pioneer Skies
The Test

The techno hit 'It Began In Afrika' had already graced the dancefloors of Ibiza and Europe in 2001, topping European dance charts and earning a favoured place in many a DJs record box.  The rather aptly titled 'Galaxy Bounce' had been featured on the soundtrack of 'Tomb Raider' earlier in the year.  The melodic 'Star Guitar' was released as a single on January 14th 2002 (28th for the 12").  Beth Orton's vocals appear again in 'The State We're In', having formerly graced 'Surrender' with her vocals on 'Alive: Alone'.   Ex-Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft makes a surprise appearance on 'The Test' where his northern vocals blend perfectly into what is a classic example of a Chemicals end-of-album masterpiece.  Despite singing "did I pass the acid test?" and spending time with the Chemicals, Ashcroft claimed to NME that "he has never taken drugs".

Despite Ashcroft, drug-experience is apparent throughout the album, as the Chemicals send us on a trip of psychedelic harmonies and dizzyingly smooth breakdowns.  The sound is similar to their latter work in 'Surrender'; eclectic trance with a few 4/4 dance floor hits thrown in.  The Chemicals seem to be moving away from their underground roots of 'Exit Planet Dust', into a more commercial, yet still unique, sound.  Some may mourn the transition but if you liked 'Surrender', 'Come with Us' will have you "oh"-ing and "ah"-ing like a bunch of 10-year-olds at a firework display.


Sources:
Chemicals Astralwerks Website - www.astralwerks.com/chemical/

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