The greatest electronic live album ever? It just might be…
Ian Wade 2012-03-26
The Chemical Brothers have, for nearly 20 years (does one dare call them veterans? Like they’ve been in a war or something?), been routinely fantastic on record. And to those who’ve lost themselves to the pair’s phenomenal live show at any field-, warehouse-, tent- or shed-held event, they’re possibly the most exciting musical experience to ever unfold before one’s eyes.
It’s not just Tom and Ed who have form – the director of Don’t Think’s visual side, Adam Smith, is a longtime collaborator and has helped the duo turn their live set into something that far surpasses the appeal of a couple of herberts pushing buttons. Filmed at Japan’s Fuji Rock festival, with 20 cameras wandering around the crowd with notices attached in Japanese telling the audience to not stare and gurn into the lens, this is more quality reportage of an immense event than a clutch of clips featuring shoulders-riding attendees waving their bits at whoever will look. And as to what’s on the huge screens accompanying the Brothers, the imagery is amazing. Whether it's cutlery being thrown into water, an evil-looking clown (is there any other kind?) or robots and tigers wandering around the place, it’s an audio-visual freak-out where on-screen pictures bleed into the real world, and the performance marches into life. You are the Brothers’ property now.
But one needn’t restrict their enjoyment of Don’t Think to DVD plays exclusively, as it’s a fine standalone live album too. In fact, it’s bloody gorgeous. All your favourite Chems tunes – Do It Again, Leave Home, Hey Boy Hey Girl – are poured into a big soupy broth of rushy moment-filled wonder, sitting nicely alongside the more recent monsters such as Horse Power and the tremendous Swoon. Even if you’ve never seen them live, you can still get the buzz and enjoy this as an album in its own right.
Don’t Think is just stunning: a demented firework display of kaleidoscopic assault and psychedelic wonder and disco connection being fired directly into your face. If we discount similar packages from Daft Punk and Kraftwerk (and let’s dismiss them as robots, as they play the roles so well), then this is quite simply the greatest electronic live album ever. Amazing.