In the three years that Underworld has been on the scene in their current formation, they've built quite a name for themselves. The group released their debut disc dubnobasswithmyheadman 3 years ago to fairly decent press and really haven't looked back since. After kind of a slow reception, their "Dark and Long" and "Cowgirl" singles became club favorites off that disc, and the group soon recorded new material. Their single "Born Slippy" was featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack and their second album Second Toughest In The Infants has recieved high marks virtually across the board. They've even been featured alongside artists such as The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers in articles in both Spin and Newsweek as one of the leading groups in the so-called techno revolution (Don't even get me started on mainstream media's current infatuation with the word "electronica"). Their Pearls Girls EP is the newest in the line of long singles from the group. This particular disc contains 8 new songs and spans over 65 minutes.
The first song on the disc is the Tin There version of "Pearls Girl." This vocal-less version moves along at breakneck speed and sounds nothing like the original. One of the strangest songs on the disc is the third song entitled, "Puppies." It has no real beat to speak of and Karl Hyde's voice has been given the usual vocodered treatment, dropping it a couple pitches lower than normal. The eerie vocals and dreamy music give the song a spooky feel, but also somehow stays warm and inviting. The eighth song entitled "Mosaic" runs along with an almost hollow sounding beat and a simple strum of synth. The ninth track entitled "Deep Arch" is a slowly progressive song that makes the listener feel like the finish will never be reached. The only vocals on the track are the twisted samples of a child speaking (or possibly Hyde's vocals run through a sonic blender again) at the end of the song.
Overall, the disc covers a lot of ground for the group. There is some hard material and some slower material that helps to give the disc a nice balance (just as they've managed to do on their previous releases.) There are some songs with vocals and there are others that are completely devoid. Its hard to say whether the group will lead the techno revolution, but they are creating some of the more interesting music in the techno genre. If you haven't heard them, their Pearls Girl EP provides a good overview and can be found new for under 10 dollars. Even though it's mainly a remix EP, the only song that will sound familiar is the title track.