Friday, October 12, 2007

Guided By Voice: Underworld's Oblivion With Bells


This album review appears in today's Washington Square News.

British electronic duo Underworld return with a fifth studio album, "Oblivion With Bells." Karl Hyde's detached vocals are the defining feature on many of the album's eleven songs, becoming another hypnotic element in the mix.

Opener and first single "Crocodile" reaffirms the band's mastery of spacey epics, lasting six-and-a-half minutes. The following tracks, "Beautiful Burnout" and "Holding the Moth," represent the group's excellent production skills. Unfortunately, Hyde missteps with "Ring Road," on which he removes much of the distortion that normally makes his vocals work with the band's abstract sound. Instead the listener is left with pedestrian lyrics and unremarkable vocals.

"Good Morning Cockerel" is a far more successful experiment. It is a legitimate ballad that features a piano and somehow comes off as sincere throughout its two-minute duration.

Even though the vocals work on a lot of the songs, the shorter ambient pieces "To Heal" and "Glam Bucket" work just as well without them, sounding reminiscent of Underworld's previous work. Closer "Best Mamgu Ever," with its chopped-up vocals and dub-style percussion, is a good reminder that you don't have to understand Underworld to enjoy its music.

MP3: Underworld - Crocodile
Official Site: Underworld

2 comments:

butter team said...

i hype machine'd underworld looking for this track, and who shows up but uberdrivel (a butter team favorite)! looking forward to hearing this album.

Anonymous said...

is the Voice on "ring road" really Karl ? I thought it might be Mike Skinner (The Streets) ?! Thats why i am "googelin around" and came here:
to find out s th about that voice.

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