ROCK

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

KARL Hyde and Rick Smith have spent the past five years dab­bling in film sound­tracks, among them the ex­cel­lent mu­sic for Danny Boyle’s su­pe­rior space flick Sun­shine . That shows here in a way that per­haps they may not have in­tended: slabs of this album get lost in elec­tro- am­bi­ent fog. The pace is slower and even grog­gier than on pre­vi­ous ef­forts. There’s noth­ing that ap­proaches ca­reer high points such as the sub­lime Born Slippy or Cow­girl , and it’s doubt­ful they will ever re­turn there af­ter the loss of Dar­ren Emer­son to DJ­land at the turn of the cen­tury. Still, the opener Croc­o­diles is a mid- paced techno treat. Like much of Un­der­world’s oeu­vre, and un­like the Chem­i­cal Brothers, Base­ment Jaxx or Prodigy, the mu­sic and soft- spo­ken vo­cals sneak up on you rather than smack you in the head. At first pass it’s easy to mis­take this for dull­ness, but it’s sur­pris­ingly sat­is­fy­ing and of­ten ab­sorb­ing. Un­der­world are not es­sen­tial any more but are hang­ing in there with some style. Obliv­ion with Bells Un­der­world PIAS/ Lib­er­a­tor

Michael Sains­bury

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