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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Underworld - A Hundred Days Off

  by Mark Rowland

published: 1 / 9 / 2002

Underworld - A Hundred Days Off
Label: JBO
Format: CD


Despite losing long term member Darren Emerson, Underworld, now reduced to a duo of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, return with "their most sophisticated and accomplished" recording to date

When Darren Emerson left Underworld a couple of years ago, everyone thought that Underworld were finished. Although Emerson joined Underworld after Karl Hyde and Rick Smith had formed the band as a duo, it was often said that Emerson was the driving force behind the band, that he was the one that had the greatest influence over the styles of music that Underworld have dabbled in over the years. It is unsurprising, then, that many people thought that anything Underworld released after Emerson's departure would be a complete disappointment. This thought did cross my mind as well, I'm sorry to say, and was not dispelled the first time I heard new single 'Two Days Off'. A much more positive affair than previous outings, it is on first listen very simple sounding, and the combination of these twin factors caused two very over-used, evil little words to rise up in my brain. Sell outs! I'm happy to say, however, that I managed get rid of that train of thought after listening to the single a few more times, and letting the song open itself to me fully. It is then I discovered that there was actually a lot going on in the song, and that it is no bad thing to take a more positive direction. The album version of 'Two Days Off' is, however, quite different to the single version, it being just over nine minutes long, but that just means there's even more going on. When opener 'Mo Move' kicks in with it's driving bass and house-y rhythms, any remaining doubt I had was nailed into it's coffin and buried in a very deep hole. Its combination of the dub influenced sounds of debut album 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman' and the aggressive dance of previous album 'Beaucoup Fish' set the tone for the whole album.  Elsewhere, there are moody piano-synth led instrumentals ('Twist'), odd trippy blues dance ('Trimm'), and of course, the classic Underworld style energetic vocal dance (the fantastic 'Dinosaur Adventure 3D'). What is quite surprising is that 'A Hundred Days Off' has a lot less vocals from Hyde than previous albums. At least four out of the ten tracks here are either instrumentals or spoken word tracks (the words being spoken by a girl credited as 'Juanita' and not Hyde). Perhaps this is because he has been concentrating more on the musical rather than the vocal side, but there is still plenty of tracks graced by his distinctive voice, which has taken on a slightly more melodic style to their last album which makes it sound even better than before. So, in the face of so much doubt, Underworld have stomped all over their critics by releasing possibly their best album, or at least, their most sophisticated and accomplished sounding. And with 'A Hundred Days Off', they 've also proved that Darren Emerson was not as important an influence to the sound of Underworld as people seem to think he is.

Track Listing:-
1 Mo Move
2 Two Months Off
3 Twist
4 Solo Sistim
5 Little Speaker
6 Six, Trim
7 Seven, Ess Gee
8 Dinosaur Adventure
9 Ballet Lane
10 Luetin

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Oblivion with Bells (2008)
Excellent first album in five years from Underworld, who now a two piece, finds them expanding from the dance music anthems they are best known for in new directions
Anthology (2003)

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