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Underworld - Oblivion with Bells

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 8 / 1 / 2008

Underworld - Oblivion with Bells
Label: Underworld Ltd
Format: CD


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

Now a two piece consisting of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith after the departure of Darren Emerson in 2002, Underworld have been with us for 15 years now, and are most famous for 'Born Slippy', the standout track on the soundtrack of 'Trainspotting'. Their new album, 'Oblivion with Bells', has taken the band five years to record, but was worth the effort involved as it is not what you would expect at all from a band best known for its dance music anthems. It opens with the first single, 'Crocodile'. It is electronica-based with an electric piano, and also is dance beats-based but in a very intelligent way. When Hyde's vocals kick in, they are distorted in a way that sound as if he is Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode gone holy. It sounds initially very much like a remix, but as it moves on it develops a much stronger groove to it, and Hyde's vocal becomes increasingly understated. It is very clever indeed. 'Beautiful Burnout', the second track, runs smoothly out of 'Crocodile'. At first you don't know it is a new track. Hyde's vocal is even more distorted, but they are both two parts of the same anthem. 'Holding the Moth'has bruised Bjork-like beats and a much cleaner vocal, while 'To Heal' is short and very uplifting, sounding like the intro track to the Chameleons' second album, 'What Does Anything Mean, Basically ?' 'Ring Road' has a rappy Streets type vibe, while 'Glam Bucket' is an instrumental. 'Boy, Boy, Boy' features Larry Mullen Jr of U2 on marimbas, and is in the style of indie pop but has deeper beats. 'Cuddle Bunny Vs. Celtic Villages' is moody and, short and very dark, like the soundtrack to a film. 'Faxed Invitation' is softly spoken with minimal backing, while on 'Good Morning Cockerel' Hyde sounds like a laid back Nick Cave again. It ends with 'Best Mamgu Ever' which again is laid back with minimal backing, closing this fine album from those lads from Romford in Essex.

Track Listing:-
1 Crocodile
2 Beautiful Burnout
3 Holding the Moth
4 To Heal
5 Ring Road
6 Glam Bucket
7 Boy, Boy, Boy
8 Cuddle Bunny vs the Celtic Villages
9 Faxed Invitation
10 Good Morning Cockerel
11 Best Mamgu Ever

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digital downloads


Anthology (2003)
10 year retrospective CD from dance pioneers Underworld, which, while "it doesn't paint a complete picture...does give an excellent state of play so far"
A Hundred Days Off (2002)

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