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Nonsensically Beautiful Electronic Gunk

Beaucoup Fish

When I heard Underworld's first album (Dubnobasswithmyheadman, not one of their attrocious releases during the late eighties), I didn't really care much for it. After giving a few more listens, though, it grew to be one of the more-liked discs in my collection. There was something about their fusion of electronic music and lyrics (albeit stream-of-conscious, surreal nonsensical ones) that I really found appealing. They were the only group to that point to pull it off with any success at all and it prompted me to search out all their subsequent releases and purchase them as well. The great thing about them, was that they hadn't dissapointed me yet with anything. After releasing the Pearls Girl EP in 1997, though, they kind of dropped-off the face of the planet to take some time off and then record their new disc.

Over the course of the last few months, the buzz for it has been building steadily and I read several different places proclaiming (probably before they had heard anything from the disc itself) that it just could be the album that breaks electronica truly into the mainstream and positions Underworld atop the heap. It was quite a bit to shoulder for one group, and now that I've heard the album, I know that nothing that I've been hearing will probably happen. It's not that the album is bad, it's just that it's not going to appeal to the masses.

I'll even admit that the first time I heard the disc, I was underwhelmed. I'm sure it was partially due to my own personal expectations, and partially due to all the things that had been swirling in my ears. Once again, though, after a couple listens, I've found it near the top of my rotation pile. The disc starts out with "Cups," an almost 12-minute track that doesn't really get going until about 8 minutes through. After that, though, the disc follows on cue as some excellent work (minus my like/hate relationship with track 7 entitled, "Bruce Lee"). "Shudder/King Of Snake" is a 10-minute track in the vein of some of their older, pounding work and mellow tracks like "Winjer" and "Skym" provide a bit of calm before the blistering of "Kittens" and the pounding "Born Slippy"-like album closer entitled, "Moaner." If you like the groups other work, you'll definitely want to pick this up, even though it may take awhile to grow on you. Just don't expect a revolution.

Rating: 7