Think about this for a second. The Chemical Brothers released their first album, Exit Planet Dust, in 1995. That means the duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons put out their first full-length record almost 30 years ago. Feel old? The great thing, however, is their newest release, For That Beautiful Feeling, is as consistently good throughout as most of the rest of the records.
Recorded, as per usual, at the Chemical Brothers studio, Rowlands Audio Research in the south of England, there is no attempt to reinvent the Chemical Brothers wheel. But because they make stylized, cerebral EDM, there is enough space to find new streets of creativity. That shines through over an album that could be cut into threes.
The first third of the album sounds somewhat apocalyptic and one might brace for further doom to follow, at least lyrically. The music is more bombastic in the first third than the middle ground of the record too. But if there is a better second song to an album in 2023 than For That Beautiful Feeling's "Live Again" then I have yet to hear it. The synths nearly burst with joy.
The Chemical Brothers release another sonic success with For That Beautiful Feeling
"Fountains" begins the middle third with much more atmosphere and resembles a track from the Boo Radleys' Wake Up! but has a finer finish. "The Weight" finishes the middle third with grinding bass and a screaming guitar while a refrain of "Who's going to take the blame?" repeats. This might imply more doom to follow.
But instead the Chemical Brothers change directions on the final third of the record starting with the arena-ready "Skipping Like a Stone" which features Beck on vocals. The track is so happy-sounding that it might remind one of a sunny-side Of Montreal tune. Summer might be fading, but "Skipping Like a Stone" is most certainly a summer song.
The album closes with the title track and features Halo Maud. Halo Maud is the most featured voice of the record and her voice adds a heavenly atmosphere to many tracks trying to reach for the sky. There isn't a bad song on For That Beautiful Feeling, and the Chemical Brothers make sure you are released slowly back into the world with the record's closer.