The Critics: Records

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The Independent Culture


Chemical Brothers: Surrender (Virgin)

Tom Rowland's long hair and yellow tinted specs should have tipped us off: the Chemical Brothers are hippies at heart. On their third album - sure to be renowned as one of the year's best - the DJ duo move beyond big-beat and on to swirling, spiralling psychedelia. "Music: Response" and "Got Glint?" are influenced by the French retro-futurist disco of Daft Punk and Air; and a couple of tracks are built on familiar block-rockin' beats. But for the rest of the album, the Brothers pour out waves of sitars, spacey bleeps, backwards cymbals and hazy vocals from a typically impressive roster of guests. With "Let Forever Be", Noel Gallagher tops his collaboration on the last Chemical Brothers album. Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue adds his frail tones to "Dream On". "Asleep From Day", sung by Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, recalls the Velvet Underground. And on "Out of Control", the presence of New Order's Bernard Sumner and Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie sees three generations of dance-rock pioneers unite. A historic moment.



Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer (World Circuit) The septuagenarian singer from the Afro-Cuban All-Stars gets the opportunity to repeat the Grammy-winning success of Buena Vista, on which he featured. Recorded at Havana's Egrem Studios, with Ry Cooder once again acting as producer, the album is a delight, especially in the numerous boleros which show off the deep Latin soul of Ferrer's tremulous and rather ragged vocal style to greatest effect. A considerable bonus comes from the guitar-playing, which features not only Cooder himself, but also the incredible twang of Manuel Galban, whose Latin-inflected Duane Eddy-isms once decorated the doo-wop trills of Sixties vocal group Los Zafiros, as can be heard on their own World Circuit album available now.