New Chemical Brothers Single/Video ‘The Darkness That You Fear’ is a Hit of Exuberant Rave Nostalgia

Image by Hamish Brown, illustration by Ruffmercy

The thing about The Chemical Brothers – they very much represent that last generation of fierce cultural tribalism, where taste in music was a veritable line in the sand, and scorn was endlessly bandied about in the most merciless of fashions. If you liked the wrong (dance) music, you were just…wrong.

Now, with everyone utterly numbed by technology and social media, one’s taste in music matters little, as said tribalism is replaced by the solitary blankness that comes with long hours of meaningless, meandering TikTok viewing. So we’re absolutely chuffed to find the Chemicals returning to their high-spirited rave-iness, with the deceptively titled new single ‘The Darkness That You Fear’ – released April 23 via Republic Records. And from the opening build, with its sanguine mantra of “I’ll be lovin’ you, yes, I will,” its reassuring intentions are fully clear – as it rises into a housey, nostalgic anthem of pre-Millennial dancefloor exuberance.

The accompanying video, by Bristol based animator Ruffmercy, unabashedly taps that same vein of nostalgia, with the director laying archival ’90s rave footage over trippily psychedelic, hand-drawn animated backdrops. The dancing itself is so exhilarating as to be utterly infectious – so yes, please do try this at home.

Most importantly, the mood of the song is irresistibly uplifting, in a way that is nothing shy of imperative, as we move towards our 15th month of quarantines and anxieties.

“When I first heard the song I immediately connected with the theme and the overall positive vibe,” Ruffmercy recalls. “New government rules for relaxing lockdown had been announced and combined with the sun shining, it left me feeling positive about the forthcoming summer. It also triggered a strong sense of nostalgia that led to me going back to look for visual inspiration from when I first discovered The Chemical Brothers in the mid ’90s. I love using color to create chaos and evoke emotions, and this was the perfect project to do that.”

Or as the Chemicals’ Tom Rowlands himself puts it, “It’s a hopeful piece of music. When we found the combination of the different voices worked set to the flow of the music, it made us feel optimistic – like it was something we wanted to share.”

Once again, music saves the day.

N.B. The Chemical Brothers are already confirmed as Friday night headliners at this year’s Creamfields festival in Daresbury, Cheshire, UK (August 26 – 29), and as Sunday night headliners at TRNSMT in Glasgow (July 9 – 11).

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