The Chemical Brothers made the technological boom of the divisive ‘90s theirs by providing the anxious era with explosive beats and a new age of dance music. With their seminal debut, Exit Planet Dust, the duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons helped push the big beat genre into the mainstream, but their influence did not begin and end with their debut. In fact, the records that followed, Dig Your Own Hole and Surrender converted doubters of the electronic dance scene—hip-hop heads and rock-lovers—into believers of what the duo and genre had to offer. Though The Chemical Brothers’ intoxicating effect subsided moving into the 21st century with albums that involved one too many features, their latest offering No Geography remembers the duo’s biggest strength—their own voice, expressed through their unparalleled beat-driven alchemy.

Their ninth album, and first since 2015’s Born in the Echoes, No Geography echoes the duo’s peculiar dance sound of decades past, which is charismatically comprised of clever and even obscure vocal samples, syncopated rhythms and blistering breakbeats. Though they’ve never really released a bad record per se, No Geography is a return to form and quite possibly The Chemical Brothers’ best and most focused work in 20 years.

Stripping their sound of the big-name features that diluted their recent run of records, Rowlands and Simons opt to feature the presence of one rising talent in singer-songwriter AURORA. With her celluloid voice emerging in three of the 10 of tracks, No Geography possesses a sense of continuity and narrative that hasn’t been communicated since 1999’s Surrender.

Though AURORA’s voice is more prominent, the dance demagogues fill the spaces with precisely and playfully placed vocal samples, perhaps more frequent than ever before. Though they do it in large swathes, every sample is spliced creatively, causing each track to flow together and expand upon one another—contributing to a narrative that is easy to pick up on.

The narrative? No Geography, with Brexit in mind, quietly communicates the idea of retreat into openness without limitations and discrimination, but also encourages the fight for creativity and for love, because both will forever transcend geographical borders.

With the essential and encouraging message in mind, The Chemical Brothers’ latest traverses the breadth of different emotions, Pairing bombastic house beats and sour synths with an existential exhalation of commentary, No Geography realizes that the first step in seeking all-encompassing freedom, is to fight through the apparent impending doom of the current socio-political climate. Radiating energy of anxiety and apocalyptic apprehension, 'Eve of Destruction’ opens the floodgates to an eerie sentiment with the repeated phrase, “The eve of destruction (Human minds are simplified)/ The eve of destruction (Sacrifice is justified).” Reverberating through listeners' bones with an infectious bass line and AURORA’s voice clothed by a robotic guise, this ominous number bounces with a conflicting yet welcomed sense of playfulness.

Though No Geography commences with this lyrically portentous (but musically brazen) posture, the duo flips the tone on its head with track ‘Bango’. As ‘Eve of Destruction' closes out with fidgety fills of bongo, ‘Bango’ picks up where the aforementioned left off. Beneath the incessant slew of drums, the song brandishes a very volatile synth bass. But this time, the volatility dissolves in a sense of confidence as evidence through the tracks refrain repeated by AURORA herself, “I won’t back down, give me my thunder.”

Though there is a sense of fatigue in the verses, ‘Bango’ spits in your face with resilience but you will be glad it did. Sampled but drastically altered, ‘Bango’ echoes Dinosaur L’s (aka Arthur Russell) 'GO BANG!!!' Though the duo strips the track of Russell’s intimacy, the Chemical Brothers’ render it with—you guessed it—a bang!

In a similar vein as the throbbing iteration and confidence of ‘Bango,’ the track ‘Mad as Hell’ or simply ‘MAH’, perspires fearless infectiousness that is near-impossible to shake. Pulling from El Coco’s 1977’s ‘I’m Mad As Hell.’ “I'm mad as hell (Say it, what? Uh) I’m mad as hell, I ain't gonna take it no more,” the drawn out and rebellious passion makes it the house equivalent of a punk song.

With all the oscillating rhythms to sift through, whether it be the industrial-tinged ‘The Universe Sent Me’ and ‘Gravity Drops’, or the acid house mutilation of ‘We’ve Got to Try,’ No Geography sees a plethora of styles and subcultures of electronic music finding common ground in feelings of uncertainty but endurance and positivity nonetheless. Though it has its moments of disarray and despair, No Geography makes its impact through optimism.

Amidst the disco-y grooves, spunk and chaotic waves of beats handmade for dancefloors, the most stunning and even most cathartic moment of the entire records arrives near the beginning with the title track. This shimmering composition immerses with wondrous-hued synthesizers and a vocal sample that is sure to inspire an overflowing amount of yearning and amazement: “If you ever change your mind about leaving it all behind/ Remember, remember, no geography/ Me, you and me/ Him and her, and them too/ And you, and me too/ I'll take you along, I’ll take you along with me.”

There’s a palpable unification about this track that’s hard to comprehend, and once the floor collapses beneath its listeners at the halfway point, combusting into an unyieldingly danceable beat, it’s quite easy to imagine an entire club, drenched in sweat jumping in harmony and perfect love. ‘No Geography’, made clear through its title, sees no borders and travels far and wide with a beaming sense of awe that cannot be praised enough.

With this brief but profound breath of positivity lending toward an album seeking hope through the bleak future, The Chemical Brothers offer a breathtaking return that solidifies them as electronic dance legends. For many decades the duo’s music has dwelled but thrived within the public consciousness, and even though No Geography looks backward at their heyday, it simultaneously looks forward further than most electronic artists today.