Reviews

Chemical Brothers

With their fourth studio album, Come With Us, the Chemical Brothers offer up an unusual assortment of African drumbeats, acoustic guitars and lush rhythms. Although lacking in overall uniqueness, the album does provide a more pop-friendly sound than other electronic records.

While most techno music tends to be impersonal, in the song “The State We’re In” the vocals of English folk singer Beth Orton provides a needed plaintiveness. Orton seduces the listener with her amorous pleading, crafting the finest track on the album.

Former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft also brings his talents to Come With Us by co-writing and appearing on “The Test.” Ashcroft offers a certain … well, verve, really, to an otherwise tame album.

Other tracks on the album, such as the title track and “It Began In Africa,” supply strong beats and fast tempos that have made the Chemical Brothers famous and are reminiscent of the muzak heard in Gaps throughout the world.

Even though Come With Us may not transform the face of techno music, it does supply some dance-worthy music for the masses. (Kari Petrie)

Fanfare Ciocarlia

Baro Biao (World Wide Wedding)

[Piranha]

The 18 tracks on this CD present a dizzying, virtuoso display of a style of music that is on the fast track to extinction in eastern Romania, Fanfare Ciocarlia’s home. A mixture of Gypsy melodies and military marches, the music is alarmingly fast, the volume startlingly loud, seeming to possess enough muscle to meet any challenge. Unfortunately, this sort of large-band brass ensemble is growing scarce as younger Romanian musicians form smaller, more portable groups. The sounds Fanfare Ciocarlia produce require real labor, as they must drag their heavy instruments from place to place, where they hoist the heavy brass into the air and force sounds out of them with powerful blasts of air. One grows exhausted just listening to it, imagining the effort required to produce these sounds, and it is no surprise that new players for this style of music are rare. This is a thrilling, robust music, and even when nobody is left to play it, the echoes produced by Fanfare Ciocarlia will linger in the air, still bouncing off the walls, a memory of an astonishing party that has ended. (Susan Miura)