Skip to main content

Home Music Music Album Reviews

The Chemical Brothers, ‘For That Beautiful Feeling’ review: electro pioneers remain at the top of the game

Over 30 years into their career, The Chemical Brothers remain one of the UK's most pioneering acts.

4.0 rating

By Will Richards

The Chemical Brothers (Picture: Press)

Throughout all of the innovation and experimentation of the electronic music scene since The Chemical Brothers formed at the tail end of the 80s, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have remained at the cutting edge.

From the ecstatic rave of their 90s heyday to 00s pop hit ‘Galvanize’ and throughout a fruitful and experimental run in the 2010s, the duo have expanded their sound and become bona-fide festival headliners at the same time.

Rather than reinventing themselves, tenth studio album For That Beautiful Feeling simply keeps the wheels rolling. As colourful as its artwork and true to its title, the album is as hedonistic and propulsive as the duo’s best work, all put through a psychedelic lens. Mixed together like the pair’s impeccable live shows, For That Beautiful Feeling barely pauses for breath, instead serving as a brilliantly immersive, interconnected piece.

Through the constant euphoric thud, a handful of highlights emerge. The first is ‘No Reason’, an irresistibly funky house track that picks up momentum and ends up as a cacophony. Beck
— who appeared on the band’s 2015 track ‘Wide Open’ — also returns with a reverb-drenched turn on the woozy ‘Skipping Like a Stone’.

After the four-on-the-floor punch of the album’s first half, Side B is a more psychedelic take on their sound. ‘Magic Wand’ is punctuated with creepy, twisting melodies, while ‘Feels Like I Am Dreaming’ sets the duo’s signature bass under an irresistible, slinky melody. The album, one of the best
of the duo’s modern era, is then sent on its way by its understated, blissful title track. As a voice repeats its title with a heavenly lilt — the same voice that opens the album — the music fades to silence for one of the only times across its entire length, placing you slowly back down to earth at the end of a trippy, masterful journey.