The title of Surrender, the Brothers' third album, is a statement of intent. "We liked the idea of giving into something and it taking you somewhere else," explains Tom. "We're fairly obsessed with music that takes you out of yourself."
Noel Gallagher is on board again for the Beatles-influenced "Let Forever Be" and Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue is also back, singing and playing guitar on Surrender's closing track, the narcotic lullaby "Dream On." "We were attracted to it for the sense of continuity," says Ed. "Rather than sticking pins in the charts it was nice to work with someone we knew."
Hope Sandoval of American duo Mazzy Star was originally slated to feature on Dig Your Own Hole and appears here on the langorous "Asleep From Day." Bernard Sumner from Manc legends New Order was asked to work on the ferocious "Out Of Control" and brought Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie with him, so two of British music's most distinctive voices appear on the same track.
Surrender's instrumental tracks also see the Chemicals' sound moving in new directions. The opener, "Music: Response" is the closest the album gets to their previous work, while "Under The Influence" is adrenalised techno, "Orange Wedge" is squealing funk and "Got Glint?" takes its inspiration from early house. The title track and epic centrepiece, "The Sunshine Underground," are natural successors to "The Private Psychedelic Reel" and the first single "Hey Boy Hey Girl" sounds like one of their live sets condensed into five thrilling minutes.
Essentially, Surrender is more of everything - more intense, more emotional, more imaginative and more ambitious than anything they've done before.
"We've always been part of a scene or reacting against a scene but this is just our music," says Ed. "I think it sounds like an outsiders record. We wanted something to really draw people in. We both wanted something aesthetically pleasing that was joyous and that you could really love."
"We've still got lots to say," adds Tom. "The last two years of music have been about people wearing their influences on their sleeves, grabbing bits and pieces and putting them together. I think this record's gone beyond that and become a lot more than the sum of its parts. I think it's so different from other records that are going to be put out. It's quite a courageous record. It's not cautious."
The Chemicals will be touring the album for most of 1999, starting in May with three UK warm up dates and a headlining slot at the Homelands festival.
Tom and Ed are still fucking with the formats, pushing the boundaries and turning dance music inside out with each new release. It's 1999 and time to surrender to the Chemical Brothers. The world is theirs.