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Albums you need to hear: Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust


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These days the big beat sound that The Chemical Brothers (Ed Simmons and Tom Rowlands) kicked into mainstream consciousness is taken for granted, but in 1995 as the first single proper, ‘Leave Home’, to be taken from their debut album Exit Planet Dust hit the airwaves it sounded like nothing else.

Exit Planet DustTheir tunes (under their previous moniker of The Dust Brothers) had been making waves in clubland for a while, the duo’s blend of big beats and bass, psychedelia, funk, rock and electronic forging a sound like nothing the clubs had heard. They had gained fans from the indie and dance celebrity elite, who would become future collaborators.

With the release of Exit Planet Dust on 26th June 1995 the newly named Chemical Brothers dropped a flawlessly brilliant debut that changed the face of dance music forever.

Although the album is made up of 11 tracks which stand-alone, each one holding their own with the quality of the last, what makes Exit Planet Dust stand-out is how it works seamlessly together as one whole. It is a classic album in the truest sense, a body of work that works best when through from start to finish.

With the albums opening heralded by a short sample from the Kraftwerk song ‘Ohm Sweet Ohm’ on ‘Leave Home’ the stage is set for a relentless barrage of funky big beats. Sounding both industrial and other-worldy, but also warm and soulful, the sound that the Chems forged appealed to fans across the board.

It charted in the UK at number 9 and grabbed sales of a million around the world being the opening salvo in the rise of big beat which groups like the Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Crystal Method would pioneer and popularise around the world.

As well as the mind-blowing instrumental tracks the album also highlights the first inklings of the Chemical Brothers more pop-focussed thinking with The Charlatan’s Tim Burgess providing indie-vocal flavour to ‘Life Is Sweet’ and alt-folk songstress Beth Orton ending the album with on the haunting ‘Alive Alone’.

 Listen on spotifyThese collaborations would set the scene for future collaborations with the likes of Noel Gallagher, New Order’s Bernard Sumner and the Verve’s Richard Ashcroft further cementing their genre-hopping credentials.

Today the Chemical Brothers are one of the biggest acts on the planet, and this is largely due to the epic brilliance of this debut album.

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