Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oblivion With Bells

All signs were pointing to this being a great record. First, I’ve been on the receiving end of a musical hot streak the last few months, as a quick check of my “albums of the week” reviews will show. Hardly a dud among them. And secondly, this is Underworld, one of my go-to bands, right up there with Stars and Kanye West in the do-no-wrong stratum.
     But Oblivion With Bells is a dud all right, and a head-scratching one at that. Aside from one or two songs, they’ve completely abandoned the hard-driving, ice-cold techno sound that brought them fame and at least one mega-hit, the Trainspotting-featured “Born Slippy.” In its place are flaccid, soundtrack-style beats that never heat up and are instantly skippable. It’s as if they’re still preparing music for “Sunshine,” the recent, blink-and-you-missed-it sci-fi movie that Underworld scored. In fact, I first thought I may have downloaded the wrong record. Apparently not.
     Oblivion With Bells starts off strong, though, offering no clue to the dreck to follow. First track “Crocodile” (heard on JeffMix2007.09.17) and follow-up “Beautiful Burnout” are slow-build reminders of Underworld’s potency. At their best, they’re the musical equivalent of the Bourne movies: cold-hearted, aggressive and relentless. But this is far from their best and the sign of a band ready to be forgotten. Enjoy the soundtrack work, boys. D
Underworld: Beautiful Burnout (mp3) (zip)
Underworld: Good Morning Cockerel (mp3) (zip)


Robert S. said...

So disappointing to hear! I did enjoy the Breaking & Entering soundtrack - didn't even see the movie, tho, as you say, it is exactly that - soundtrack music.

Robert S. said...

P.S. Is there a secret to unlocking your zip files? I get an error message each time, saying they're not valid archives ...

J e f f r e y G e o f f r e y said...

It should work. I've added new links that might help.