The Chemical Brothers

Singles 1993-2003

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Ed and Tom's ten-year anniversary was an excellent time to gift the faithful with a compilation, and Singles 93-03 illustrates nearly every distinct phase of the duo's career -- from their early Bomb Squad fixation to their flirtation with Beatlesque Brit-pop and later reincarnation as psychedelic beatmasters. Still, this straight-up chronological look at the Chemical Brothers as a singles act certainly isn't the best that could've been done. It doesn't even include all of their singles ("Music:Response" and the non-LP "Loops of Fury" would've been excellent additions) and over half of the contents comes from the period after their first two (and best two) LPs. It does begin in brilliant fashion, with early singles "Song to the Siren" and "Chemical Beats" displaying the band's weighty influence from Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine but also their fresh ideas about making dance music as fun as it had been during the rave era. Unfortunately, Singles 93-03 quickly cuts to weaker latter-day singles ("Hey Boy Hey Girl," "Star Guitar") as well as the Brothers' set of half-baked rock collaborations (including both Noel Gallagher guest-spots, "Setting Sun" and "Let Forever Be"). Two new tracks, "Get Yourself High" and "The Golden Path," are also collaborations. After a feature for fellow Astralwerks artist and rapper K-Os, the second delivers on most of its promise as a soundclash for two of neo-psychedelia's most interesting acts, the Chemical Brothers and the Flaming Lips. "The Golden Path" is a cool, crisp song with two surprises: it's clearly reminiscent of Echo & the Bunnymen and features the solo vocal debut from the Lips' Steven Drozd. (Wayne Coyne, the band's usual mouthpiece, is heard near the end.)

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