Picks and Pans Review: Come with Us

updated 02/04/2002 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/04/2002 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Chemical Brothers (Astralwerks)

Electronica is the new Muzak. Generation Whatever doesn't actually listen to it; it's wallpaper for the coolscape of hipster bars and clubs when it isn't ji-ji-jittering away on the soundtrack of a car-chase scene at the multiplex. There's no question what chemical the Brothers are offering: It's adrenaline.

Home-listening to the latest from England's Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons is more problematic. The blip grooves, demonic keyboard riffs and jagged beats may sound slammin' among the writhing strobe-lit bodies, but it all loses its otherworldliness if you put it on while you're cleaning the bathtub. Scattered vocals enhance the clubby chaos: "It began in Afrika" is chanted over tribal beats on the track of the same name, and folky Beth Orton is sweetly plaintive on "The State We're In." Fun party game: play sample detective. Was that bit an homage to the theme from The Jetsons?

Bottom Line: Save it for your next rave

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