Continuing on with the b-side entre is the second of three for the Chemical Brother's b-sides, where we kick off from the b-sides of Surrender and go into the bonus/b-sides of Come With Us, the Singles 93-03, and Push the Button. While the Singles 93-03 is not an official album, there is enough bonus material on there to cover for this series. Let's dig into it! And as before, since this a collection of random songs, there will be no final review score.
COME WITH US
1. Hot Acid Rhythm 1 (7)
I wasn't sure if I should've counted this on the list of b-sides, this being the first and only from the 'It Began in Afrika' single, as it has a numeric behind it, but as far as I know, this is the only 'Hot Acid Rhythm' that the Chembros have ever made, so it was probably a placeholder title. The Chembros do have a list of electronica songs they dub 'electronic battle weapons' and I don't include them because most of them are either versions of official songs they have done, or are just straight riffs of bonus songs (#5 being Freak of the Week). IN anycase, Hot Acid Rhythm (1) does seem to hail a lot of the big beat grooves that made It Began in Afrika a pretty popular song for the Chembros (even more than the title track), but Hot Acid Rhythm doesn't really have the 'hot' or 'acid' parts down, as the entirety of the song is basically filler drum accords and random voice clippings here and there. I guess it isn't a wholly annoying affair, but it isn't certainly one that's grabbing my attention all that much.
2. Base 6 (7)
OH you cheeky motherfuckers. 'Base 6?', you mean Basics, don't you? Base 6 begins with the kick reverb noise from Galaxy Bounce, albeit abruptly, so don't expect this to be a glorified remix of Galaxy Bounce, Base 6 does hold a candle to the idea of outer spacey vibes, where Galaxy Bounce was more of a funkadelic big beat romp. Even So, Base 6 does feel like a extended dub of Galaxy Bounce even when it does have a entire ensemble of new melodies and instrumentals. Every new little voice clip or bass note feels like a mix between Under the Influence and Galaxy Bounce, the fast high hat paddles from the former, and the voice clipping and homage to the musical accords of the 70s from Galaxy Bounce, so I can't really rate this song that high, but it will get above a '6' for me!
3. H.I.A (8)
I'm not sure if the title of this song is actually a acronym for something or yet another cheeky pun, like if you were to say the letters real fast it would sound like 'hiya!' as in, hello. What's also weird that this is a b-side to two singles at once: Come with Us and The Test. It seems that a lot of these b-sides for Come With Us share a very similar connotation with being abducted or taken to outer space, and maybe the Chembros should've gone that route the whole way since Come With Us didn't really have a central focus in mind. Despite that, I think HIA is the most effective of the 'outer space' vibes, with the huge buildup and flourish of the lady saying 'I wanna go higher' but saying it like 'hiya' just to frustrate me further into thinking that the title is another cheeky pun by the chembros. There is also a lot more emphasis on weird spacey flutes and notes, rather than doing more 70s funk themes in the vein of being outer spacey. I think the only thing that doesn't work for me is it's heavy runtime, being over 7 minutes that doesn't have too much to offer other than the buildup and flourish.
So before I go into the bonus tracks and b-sides, the reason that I wanted to go into the Singles 93-03 was that the second disc contains a whole bunch of bonus tracks, as well as some b-sides that I covered in the first Chembros b-sides reviews that it would be unfit for me not to tackle them head-on, so lets!
1. The Duke (9)
The first bonus song on the Singles 93-03 that isn't one already covered or a remix of another song, the Duke for a very brief moment uses the 'leave home' line from the debut album, implying that this song was probably made during that time period in some capacity. Although, it wouldn't be the first time that stopped the Chembros from using older material for their new shit (look at We are the Night for instance!). The Duke is a very bass-laden song for one, probably using three different layers of bass, one as the backdrop, one for the melody, and one that bounces on both sides to give this song a very bootylicious attitude that I haven't seen Chembros pull off in any later songs. While that lends it credence, I think the Duke could give me a 10 if there was any bigger pull than slight nudge to the 10 on the octave.
2. Otter Rock (8)
Sometimes, you don't need to be a song to be so damn complex or enthralling, it can be minimalist and relaxing, like this one. There is basically three and only three layers to the song; a very folksy acoustic reverb, a somewhat catchy but not too hard hitting drum loop, and a soothing flute note as the melody of the song. The simplicity of the tone that Otter Rock goes for really makes you feel like you are enjoying the wilderness around you, as the title would suggest. While at the same time, it could use a bit more meat on the bones, but not too much that would turn off the peaceful nature of this song in it's entirety. Crack open a cold one with the boys to this one, while watching the sun set on a open plain.
3. Delik (7)
I'd be remiss if I didn't cover this song, as my first experience with the Chembros was the Singles 93-03, and not realizing that the catchy drum beat from this song was actually tooken beat for beat from Life is Sweet, made me want to critique the song a little harder. Delik, turkish for 'Hole' (or maybe the Deliks from Doctor Who?), basically changes the nature of the drum beat slightly by using a different electric guitar acoustic and assortment of synth reverbs, only bringing the one from Life is Sweet abruptly (as well as the singer's voice too), but even that can't really save this from being a glorified remix of it. While it does have a whole new assortment of drums in between the already sampled ones, and Delik is a bit more energetic of the bunch of bonuses on here, it doesn't quite save itself from being too familiar.
4. Get Yourself High (10)
One thing that's very interesting about the Compilation Albums that the Chembros do is put bonus music in the mix with the singles, like this one. Get Yourself High, from the nature of the lyrics to the music video, is almost a sort of parody of being high all the time, but that doesn't stop this song from having some kickass funk and big beat moments for itself. It seems when the chembros get's a talented rapper to rap over their music, it's like peanut butter and jelly for music. The catchy high hats, bridge lyrics (don't rely on ____ to get you high) and the electronic harp beats from the beginning really give this song a neat underground vibe that nearly mimics the Prodigy's diesel power. Even the off kilter set of drum beats into the bridge work to it's benefit (even if the twangy strings are kind of a earsore), making this what The Salmon Dance should've been but didn't have any dignity to be.
5. The Golden Path (6)
the SECOND, yes, SECOND bonus song mixed in with the singles from the Chembros, the Golden Path is like the sendoff song for the compilation album, being the last on the disc. While the Golden Path does work wonders with the lyrics telling a story in a ephemeral mix of joy and anguish, the instruments take a huge backseat for the lyricist to let him run his mouth along the song (or the supposed golden path in this case), so the entirety of the song sounds more of a soft alt-rock ballad rather than a electronic chembros with a singer featuring. It does win me on the emotional edge, especially at the coda of the song as the singer continues to say 'please forgive me, i never meant to hurt you'.
6. Nude Night (6)
The b-side to The Golden Path. YES, the bonus song to a compilation album got it's own b-side! It's like a b-side to a b-side, making it a c-side in this instance. Nude Night does sort of work as a nighttime cruise song, with it's face paced yet suppressed arpeggio at the start of the song, it sort of just weighs that song down for a good half of it until the louder high hats and the equally suppressed 'nude;night' vocalization come in, but even that can't really help how downplayed this song is, when it could be a club banger with a bit more punch in it, so it gets a 6.
PUSH THE BUTTON
1. Rize Up (6)
A lot of emphasis on most of these b-sides for the Push the Button record is 'basically, what can we take from the corpses of The Boxer, Believe and The Big Jump and turn into a zombie?' and that's what you get. For example, this song uses the similar rattles, chimes and kicks and pedals from those three respective songs in a form that gives it a sort of Shake Break Bounce vibe if tweaked to be a bit more indian in nature (the electronic harp sounds a bit arabic in my opinion). Combine that with the drone of the singer going 'ryyyyyyzzzzzeeeeee up' has left an indentation on my brain so hard that whenever I see the words 'rise up' in conjunction with another, it triggers me to say it the same way that guy did. So thanks social justice warriors, whenever you say you want to 'rise up' to some made up power structure, you make me want to say 'ryyyyzzeeeee up' in response like I'm retarded. But as for this song, not much to latch onto, albeit a bit more enthralling than Believe or the Big Jump were but not much for me to care that it wasn't officially included on here.
2. Giant (7)
As I've restated, blatant use of samples from their official songs, this one predominantly using the weird 'clap reverb' from the Boxer as one of the main thrusts of the song, other than the 'gotta make this work' and the deep xylophone keys that follow it. This is also one of two b-sides from Believe, a song that I still have no idea how it ever became a single to begin with. While Giant has more instrumentals punches that don't pull like Rize Up did, Giant is still overtly reliant on way too familiar samples and instrumentals that make me confuse it with being a genuine remix of The Boxer to begin with.
3. Spring (8)
Almost as if to say 'let's do Otter Rock again!' while also maintaining that easy to do copy/paste of similar sampled instrumentals, Spring almost nearly gets away with not doing that, except that it's heavy entourage of key notes sound like samples from older songs rather than from the song at current. But Spring does solve a small problem that I had with Otter Rock, primarily, that there wasn't quite enough meat on the bones, and Spring manages to succeed on that while only having a few more layers in tow, with it's very slow and relaxing drum keys and harps here and there. While Spring does too often sound like similar territory, at least Spring manages to grab my attention, finally.
4. Swiper (10)
NO SWIPING! But in all seriousness, I thought the Duke had bass, this song's got it beat. The beginning notes are entirely drowned out in bass beats, before kicking up the electricity of it's beats with a acid techno fervor unheard of in Chembros ala Push The Button era. This is the hot acid rhythm that the Chembros were looking for, honestly, and I'm most definitely surprised that the Chembros managed to get out of their comofort zone with this sick ass beat, with it's relentless entourage of kicks that pan throughout the song, almost making this a near contender on the 'It Doesn't Matter' scale. Maybe it being a b-side to the Boxer helped make the song good in comparison.
And that's all for the second series. My third and final glance at the chembros b-sides will cover the b-sides/bonus tracks of We Are The Night, Further, and Born in the Echoes.
Listening to: OTTER ROCK
Reading: NUDE NIGHT
Watching: THE GOLDEN PATH
Eating: THE DUKE
Drinking: BASE 6