Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr When Manchester’s Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons debuted with Exit Planet Dust in 1995, the Chemical Brothers staked their claim as pioneers of the big beat sound that rose up in the mid-’90s. The movement hit its zenith in 1997, with Dig Your Own Hole joining Prodigy’s The Fat of the Land in helping pave the way for Fatboy Slim. The genre would become retrospectively viewed as a flash in the pan as the new rock revolution shifted the alternative music zeitgeist away from the ravey head-space that the Chems dominated. But despite the shift in mainstream focus, the British duo held steady throughout the 2000s, even with bass drops supplanting big beats as the electronica du jour. But five years removed from their last release, you’d be forgiven if, lately, you’d kind of forgotten about the Chemical Brothers. Despite the gap in output, the Chems’ new album, Born in the Echoes, showcases how the duo continues to do things their own way. Any evolution to their sound takes place in a closed system of their own sensibilities, one not prone to the fickle whims of musical trends. For the most part, Echoes feels both plucked from the duo’s heyday and defined by the timelessness of their sound. “I’ll See You There” may be the track that best echoes their late-’90s breakthrough sound, with its churning electronics and elliptical drum patterns hearkening to the Noel Gallagher-assisted “Let Forever Be”—the looped declaration about seeing us in the future serving as a cheeky nod to the duo’s persistent relevance. Opener “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted” also pumps out that distinctive Chemical Brothers big beat build with some funky falsetto triggering the track’s most raucous swells. But Rowlands and Simons can also throw down a dark and sinister gauntlet as effectively as the newest generation of producers, preening their inkiest feathers with ominous tracks like “Just Bang” or the motorik-inflected “EML Ritual” (which features recent cohort Ali Love). The Chemical Brothers continue to draw A-list collaborators, as Annie Clark (St. Vincent) adds ethereal vocals to dance floor stomper “Under Neon Lights” and none other than Beck closes out the album with “Wide Open,” his wistful voice still in full Morning Phase mode. Beck’s contribution tag teams with penultimate track, “Radiate,” which approaches an almost Yann Tiersen-esque brand of discordant rapture and offers an appropriate comedown from Echoes’ previous ecstatic heights. And rapper Q-Tip, who was previously featured on the Chems’ 2005 single “Galvanize,” adds smooth vocals to the sleek, propulsive “Go,” the video for which is already pushing 6 million views on YouTube. If you’re seeking new ideas, Born in the Echoes isn’t the place to look. But the duo isn’t stuck in a creative loop either. Instead, they branch out to explore different veins all contained within the same vast sonic organism. Their aesthetic remains the same (the black and white cover even shares its color scheme with Dig Your Own Hole), but the Chemical Brothers have shown that, even after a five year gap in records, they still do what they do better than anybody else—shifting musical trends be damned.