Dig Your Own Hole – The Chemical Brothers (1997) – Chosen by SWC
It is Colossal. Simple as that.
‘Dig Your Own Hole’ propelled The Chemical Brothers from the clubs to musical superstardom. It took their trademark large beats and funky bassline and gave them number one singles, Grammy awards and Glastonbury headlines sets. This wasn’t big beat anymore – this was ‘stadium dance’. Apparently.
This album is incredible, a massive mixture of psychedelia, acid house, hip hop, big beats, funky beats and tunes. Massive tunes. Tunes so big that they have their own postcodes and accompanied everywhere they go with a huge flashing purple sign which says ‘TUNE’. You could say, that ‘Dig Your Own Hole’ was the Chemical Brothers’ rock album because at times it seriously fucking rocks. Actually that’s most of the time.
Any album that opens with a tune as big and as pile driving as ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ is going to be good – all wonky noises, spiky breaks and intense beats – pretty much the musical equivalent of a buffalo on very strong acid. Good is perhaps understating the entire album – look at the contributors, Kool Herc on ‘Elektrobank’, Noely G (before Oasis went all rubbish, so actually pretty amazing) on ‘Setting Sun’ adding his vocals to a deranged chaos or sirens, loops and bloody racket. Giving the Chemical Brothers one of the most mental number ones of all time (incidentally it knocked ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’ off number one and was itself knocked off the top by Boyzone). People at the top of the game literally falling over themselves to work with the Brothers.
Then it all starts to calm down, another guest crops up, one Beth Orton, who gives us a wonderful vocal of ‘Where Do I Begin’ which is one of the best folk songs that has ever been recorded. Twenty years later it still sounds as fresh and great as ever.
That slowly leads us to ‘the Private Psychedelic Reel’ which is just a wonderful wonderful piece of music, spiralling melody accompanying musical whooshes and a giddy rush of bleeps. It’s just the perfect end to a virtually perfect album.
Twenty years on there has still been nothing quite like ‘Dig Your Own Hole’. This was an album that gave them a whole new audience, a whole new bunch of minds to mess up. An amazing album.