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Sunday, February 28, 1999 Published at 08:33 GMT


Entertainment

CD Review: Underworld

Underworld: Setting the standard (Junior Boy's Own)

Warning: Underworld can detach you from reality - permanently.

And that is just one of a bucketload of reasons why you should put the weekly shop on the backburner and make Beaucoup Fish your next purchase.

Just think, you will never hear the word "euro" again, Monica Lewinsky's mugshot will be a distant memory and you will not be forced to pontificate on the whys and wherefores of Kevin Keegan for England down at your local.

Aside from that, it is a damned fine album, with all the inspiration and captivation of your favourite novel.

No lager, lager, lager


[ image: Beaucoup Fish: As simple as it is complicated]
Beaucoup Fish: As simple as it is complicated
There may not be a ready-made 18-30 holiday "lager, lager" chant lurking within the 11 tracks, but it flows like the finest champagne for one hour, 14 minutes and two glorious seconds.

The Born Slippy void is more than adequately filled by King Of Snake, which pounces on the hook of Bronski Beat's version of I Feel Love, grabs hold of a garage piano riff and raises such important world issues as Tom and Jerry - in the style of Mmm Skyscraper I Love You from their dazzling debut.

Then, with the consideration you come to expect from Underworld, you are granted a well-earned breather with Winjer and Skym. As you drift into a higher state of subconsciousness, you are invited to "take your top off", before an abbey-load of murmuring monks creep into your hi-fi.

If confirmation were needed that the threesome are back to their spine-tingling best, you need look no further than the mammoth 12-minute introduction that is Cups.

The deep, unwavering bassline dances on the heart like mischievous goblins on a grave as robotic utterings are drilled into the brain.

But just when you have taken up permanent residence in the flotation tank, Cups suddenly heads off on a more intense Orbital-esque tangent to leave you wondering what on earth is round the next corner.

Unpredictability wins over

It is this unpredictability which sets this, their third album, apart from the wannabes.

The tempo is changed at will, beats disappear as quickly as they arrive and the lull is just as likely to occur during the storm as before it.

Beaucoup Fish is as simple as it is complicated and arguably superior to Second Toughest In The Infants, not least because it is instantly infectious and more akin to the untoppable Dubnobasswithmyheadman.

Serial clubbers expecting 11 different variations of Rez may find the going a bit slow at times, but even the most seasoned campaigner will have trouble lasting out for the sneering, frenetic finale of Moaner, which intriguingly namechecks Earth, Wind and Fire somwhere in the melee.

When you finally come round (if you come round), you will not fully realise what has just hit you.

This is Underworld on the very top of their game. This is Underworld setting the benchmark for the rest to try and get near in 1999.

If you buy this record, your life will be better.

Chris Charles



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