The Chemical Brothers: Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons.
Additional personnel includes: Jonathan Donahue (vocals, guitar, piano); Bernard Sumner (vocals, guitar); Hope Sandoval, Noel Gallagher (vocals); Bobby Gillespie (background vocals).
Recorded at Orinoco Studios, South London, England.
While the band's previous album retreated from the carefully arranged popcraft of DIG YOUR OWN HOLE towards more familiar in-the-mix DJ territory, the Chemical Brothers once again prove themselves masters of the studio on SURRENDER. Things open on an upbeat, infectious note with "Music: Response," a track powered by tinny, bleeping synth effects straight out of Kraftwerk's "Pocket Calculator." Eminently danceable breakbeats and surging synth lines are consistent elements of SURRENDER--the Brothers haven't abandoned their techno roots--but the arrangements are structured with more than dancing in mind.
The varying timbres of the electronics, the dynamic range of the funk-derived rhythms, and the character of the spoken and sung voices that pop up throughout the album all contribute to SURRENDER's listenability. The album's second half even ventures into neo-psychedelic balladry on "Asleep From Day" and "The Sunshine Underground," with gently loping beats and swirling keyboards. "Dream On" recalls the Beth Orton contributions to DIG YOUR OWN HOLE with its folky acoustic guitar strumming, gently panoramic arrangement and '60s folk-rock structure. It is the contrast between club-oriented beats and spacey artistry that makes SURRENDER a success.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (5/24/99, pp.63-64) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...the crucial, early robo-soul of detroit techno...Afrika Bambaataa's early-Eighties fusion of Bronx beats and Kraftwerk....Rowlands and Simons have...[made] a record that kicks like living history. Put it on, crank it up, bust a move."
Entertainment Weekly (6/25/99, p.132) - "...It's the techno/rock bridge we've been waiting to cross for years....The gorgeous, field-of-flowers vibe on some tracks finds the duo again expanding electronica's vocabulary..." - Rating: B+
Q (1/00, p.84) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1999."
Q (7/99, p.105) - 4 stars (out of 5) - "...bringing the best out of themselves....The Chemical Brothers' quantum leap into the wild blue yonder, away from their trademark slapstick delirium. It looks like there is life after big beat, after all."
Muzik (1/00, p.69) - Ranked #3 in Muzik's "Albums Of The Year '99"
CMJ (6/14/99, p.3) - "...the Brothers venture down untravelled paths from which their contemporaries have shied away....each entry retains the cosmic rush and futuristic funkiness that has always been the core of the Chemical Brothers..."
Vibe (6,7/99, p.189) - "...the group...lets its softer European roots show....the emphasis is on acid-drenched house rhythms and smooth bass breaks, as pasty-faced vocalists like Oasis's Noel Gallagher and Kraftwerk- style robots fill in [the] gaps....damn infectious."
Melody Maker (6/19/99, p.53) - 4 1/2 stars out of 5 - "...Sometimes they just patter, tricle and slide. Sleety sounds waiting for the storm. Sometimes, they shrink to fit...And, yeah, sometimes they're f***ing massive.... SURRENDER is the most distinctive album of the year, bar none..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/00, p.30) - Ranked #11 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999"
Mojo (Publisher) (7/99, p.91) - "...exceeds all expectation....it rocks, it caresses, it exhilarates, and, finally, it takes you on a trip....[they] have freed themselves from linear time and stretched both backwards and forwards for their bag of tricks..."
NME (Magazine) (6/19/99, p.30) - 8 out of 10 - "...SURRENDER is excellent. From the opening faux-naive Kraftwerk simulation of 'Music:Response' right through to the final, Jonathan Donahue-assisted fry-up 'Dream On', it's simply a joy to listen to..."