Following Sometimes I Feel So Deserted and Go ft. Q-Tip, The Chemical Brothers are back with another track that can only be described as automatic supersonic hypnotic funky fresh (couldn’t have said it better than Ciara herself). In all seriousness, though, it’s rare that a track has such a cinematic quality – especially one as well-executed as this one, Under Neon Lights. It’s an apt title that captures the images of a psychedelic and sensory-overloaded city evoked by the grinding electronic beats. It’s the aural equivalent of a neo-noir film – in fact, faintly reminiscent of the soundtracks of films like Drive. The kaleidoscopic lights of the video below are an apt counterpart to the dark, shimmering record.
Under Neon Lights isn’t a significant departure from their previous efforts, retaining much of their pounding electronic beats. However, it’s a stellar record nonetheless – and really, who would ever want the Chemical Brothers to change their sound?
The track opens with an atmosphere exuding an Eastern flair, before a segue into St. Vincent’s simultaneously entrancing and discomforting spoken-word vocals. “Under neon lights…” she chants, followed by the indulgent and tempting beckon: “Got no husband…got no wife…”. The song’s incessant electronic tones are underscored by faint echoes of laughs and voices, giving it an almost disturbing quality akin to the hedonistic nightlife of the Chemical Brothers’ fantasy world. Yet this is cut through by the crisp precision of St. Vincent’s falsetto, which weaves its way in and out of the track, exploring unusual and surprising melodic combinations. The result is a track that we can imagine ourselves writhing to on the grimy floor of a Tokyo nightclub, mesmerised by the low ritual chanting that drives the song.
It’s no surprise that Adam Smith – long time visual collaborator with The Chemical Brothers – describes the new live show as a “truly unique, immersive psychedelic experience.” The Chemical Brothers’ upcoming album Born in the Echoes is out July 17th via Astralwerks.