Further is the first Chemical Brothers album without a guest vocalist since their debut.
Consequently, with no worries about crafting tracks around a Q-Tip or Richard Ashcroft, the duo has full freedom to focus on enveloping listeners in the sound world usually just experienced at its shows -- although, naturally, without the lights and atmosphere to accompany the music.
After a beatless first track titled "Snow," the 12-minute single "Escape Velocity" approximates a rocket launch, the impressive effects continually rising over the first few minutes until the beat kicks in with full force.
Still, as a single or an album track, "Escape Velocity" isn't a total success.
But the Chemical format of old is still rampant and still rather stultifying; the psychedelic distortion on "Swoon" sounds self-sampled (or swiped from Orbital's "Lush 3-1"), while "Horse Power" has very little to recommend it except a distorted vocal repeating the title and, wait for it, horse whinnies.
The Chemical Brothers have remained in the stadium house category for a decade-plus due to their immersive music and vivid light shows, but from the stale beats and lack of new ideas on display here, they'd do better going beatless or hiring a drummer.