On “Under Neon Lights,” the best track on the Chemical Brothers’ return-to-form eighth record, St. Vincent’s voice hovers over cascading beats, wondering, “Is this really all I want?” It’s a brilliant, kaleidoscopic four minutes that reflects the chaos and unease of our era. The veteran duo and its guests are challenging and provocative throughout “Born in the Echoes,” even as they creatively blow up dance floors. The songs are often as concerned with disillusion and constraints as they are with liberation (“Go,” “Reflexion,” thrilling) — polarities successfully balanced to create a complex, exploratory disc that nods to the Brothers’ expansive early work while rigorously reinventing. “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted” has classic Chemical sonic depth and motion; an ominous “Taste of Honey” is driven by distorted violin and dark swirls, while effects-laden, shape shifting “EML Ritual” (“I’m going to lose my mind”) takes a delirious tour through an aural funhouse. “Wide Open,” a meditation on dissolution featuring Beck, is an apt closer for this immensely rewarding journey. (Out Friday)
ESSENTIAL “Under Neon Lights”Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.