Chemical Brothers concert ticketsSee Chemical Brothers live in concert
The act with the first arena-sized sound in the electronic a movement, the Chemical Brothers united such varying influences as Public Enemy, Cabaret Voltaire, and My Bloody Valentine to create a dance-rock-rap fusion which rivalled the best old-school DJs on their own terms -- keeping a crowd of people on the floor by working through any number of groove-oriented styles featuring unmissable samples, from familiar guitar riffs to vocal tags to various sound effects. And when the duo (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons) decided to supplement their DJ careers by turning their bedrooms into recording studios, they pioneered a style of music (later termed big beat) remarkable for its lack of energy loss from the dance floor to the radio. Chemical Brothers albums were less collections of songs and more hour long journeys, chock full of deep bomb-studded beats, percussive breakdowns, and effects borrowed from a host of sources. All in all, the duo proved one of the few exceptions to the rule that intelligent dance music could never be bombastic or truly satisfying to the seasoned rock fan; it's hardly surprising that they were one of the few dance acts to enjoy simultaneous success in the British/American mainstream and in critical quarters.
The Chemical Brothers' second album, Dig Your Own Hole, took charge of the top spot on the album charts upon its release in April 1997, and on the wings of America's growing electronic a push, the album sailed to number 14 stateside and went gold. The duo released a mix album in 1998, Brothers Gonna Work It Out, and followed with their third studio LP, Surrender, in 1999. Rather lacklustre expectations sparked a return to the underground with the white-label-only single "It Began in Afrika," and the duo's fourth album, Come With Us. It too failed to earn the high notices of the first two albums, although after another three-year gap Rowlands and Simons returned with an improvement, 2005's push the Button.