The Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have been hooking fans on hallucinogenic big-beat electronics since 1995’s Exit Planet Dust. They’re experts at creating coliseum-sized breakbeats, mixing dance, hip-hop, techno, house, and rock rhythms into dangerously addicting ear candy aimed at overloading the senses. On their seventh album, the Chemicals push their visionary sonics (as the title says) further, with eight new tracks accompanied by films for each that are made to enhance the audio/visual experience. Further features the electro-essence of the duo’s kinetic club grooves — from “Horse Power”’s huge Brit-hop dance to “Snow”’s psychedelic down-tempo — but the album’s instrumental scores (there are no vocal collaborations here) fall sizably short against the group’s best work. And with longtime visual collaborators Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall, the Chemical Brothers end up making eight mediocre music videos, in which colorful silhouettes dance around to boring electronica — just like an iPod commercial. “Swoon” and “Dissolve” benefit from the visual presentation, but without the videos (which are included with the special-edition set), tracks like “Another World” and “Escape Velocity” sound uninspired. —
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