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The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
(06/10/2003)


Genre: Breakbeat

This was the first techno CD I had ever recieved. Vodius handed it to me a little more than a year ago while saying something along the lines of "These guys are awesome." Even though this is their second album, I'm reviewing this one first since, for me, it was first.

Now, as far as I can see, this is the album that really established the Chemical Brothers to be master musicians that they are. The first track, "Block Rockin' Beats" is the most successful track off this album, and once again only to my limited perspective on things, seemed to be very popular. I can certainly see why. The track is heavy, hard-hitting, and aggressive, and it is the kind of music that wants to make you say, "Dude, this is awesome," even if no one is around. I do it all of the time.

Anyways, the rest of the album is no less disappointing. The title track is a toned-down version of "Block Rockin' Beats" in terms of sheer aggression, but compensates by taking the sound of of "Beats" and lending it a smoother, more mellow feel. Elektrobank was somewhat disappointing after the first two tracks, feeling basically like a drawn-out "Block Rockin' Beats." Not to say it is bad, however, but it is just easily overshadowed by the first two tracks. "Piku" is a funny-sounding, stuttering track, and is fun to listen to. "Setting Sun" is just fantastic, matching angsty vocals with angsty breakbeat.

So, the first five are great. After all, I went through the trouble to cover each individual track, which is something I usually make a point not to do. Reviewing an album by tracks shows that the writer is lazy, and that kind of writing is boring and gets stale very quickly for all parties involved. After this, unfortunately, we fall into a slump. The next three songs strike me as very repetitive and very bland. Almost kind of like "breakbeat trance," except trance is supposed to sound repetitive. These generally aren't worth listening to.

The last two tracks are a great way to make up for it and cap off the album. "Sunday Morning" is beautiful and plaintitive, even if it repeats the same line over and over again. I believe it features Beth Orton with the vocals. I honestly don't know. If it is her, she's a beautiful singer. This flows quite smoothly into, "My Private Psychadelic Reel," which is not only psychadelic-sounding, but also appropriate to be called a reel, as it is very long. I reccomend you listen to it for about three minutes, and then do something else. It makes excellent background music, and after the first three minutes, you've hear pretty much everything it has to offer.

So, in conclusion, this album freaking rocks. Breakbeat at it's best. The quintessential breakbeat album. Buy it if you have any remote interest in techno. Maybe even none. If it started me on the stuff (think: gateway album), I'm sure it'll do you the same (dis)service.

Cool Hand Luke gives The Chemical Brothers' "Dig Your Own Hole"

Do The Chemical Brothers smoke? I don't know, but I'm sure they'll appreciate this four-cigarrete rating nonetheless.

What the other gods think:

I suppose this album was influential on more than one person, though maybe not in the same way. Since CHL was the person who intially got me interested in the techno genre, and this album started him off, I dare say that it indirectly brought me into this realm as well. To be quite honest, before I was properly introduced to this style of music, I thought techno was just a bunch of mediocre musicians who weren't good enough to play real instruments that used a mixture of acid and synthesizers to make up for their apparent lack of skill. Oh, and did I mention the fact that I thought only social outcasts liked it? Actually, the above statements are somewhat true, but don't mistake my meaning, techno is relatively good. I mean, who doesn't want to be a social outcast? Oh yeah, and Block Rockin' Beats is great!!
[=The Stadholder=]

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