Beaucoup Fish – Underworld (1999)
There won’t be a huge amount of dance music in this rundown. It’s not anything to do with my taste in music, but more down to most of the vinyl/CDs associated with the genre and sitting in Villain Towers are singles rather than albums.
One exception is Beacoup Fish, the mighty opus released by Underworld in 1999. Eleven tracks that take almost 75 minutes to get through, and not at any point do I ever feel like reaching for the remote and pressing the FF button to the next tune.
I wasn’t all that familiar with Underworld prior to the heights scaled by Born Slippy following its use in the film Trainspotting. I know I wasn’t alone in that regard, and I found it entertaining to read the views of many long-time fans and critics, who were often quite sneering to the millions of us who were so late to the party. It kind of felt inevitable that there would be some sort of backlash when Karl Hyde, Rick Smith and Darren Emerson got round to writing and recording the new material, and so it proved as Beaucoup Fish was greeted, not quite with cat-calls, but certainly plenty of choruses of it not being as great as the previous four albums.
Not having any of these in my possession meant that I wasn’t in place to make any sort of judgement. I took this CD entirely on its merits and found it to be a thing of great joy.
It’s another record that lulls listeners into a false sense of security, as album opener Cups meanders along fairly gently for the best part of its opening seven minutes before taking an abrupt turn with a techno beat that seems to build gradually for its remaining five minutes before bouncing straight into the joyous Push Upstairs, a track that must surely never fail to fill any dance floor. The pop/dance nature of Jumbo merely keeps things going. All of a sudden, almost 23 minutes have passed in a flash and there’s still eight tracks for your senses to absorb.
mp3 : Underworld – Jumbo
Things do veer a bit for much of the rest of the album between high-tempo dance stuff and more ambient or chilled numbers, before it all signs off with the magnificence of Moaner, a track I have previously waxed lyrically about on this blog, and one that I believe to be the greatest club number of them all.
The thing is, I never went back to Underworld in the years immediately after this album. It was more a reflection of my limited interest in their type of music than anything else, but if I can jump ahead to 2016, I picked up a copy of their ninth studio album, Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future on the recommendation of a few bloggers I admire, and found it a very enjoyable listen, albeit it was far less frantic and manic than their album from seventeen years earlier. I suppose even the ravers get old and have to slow down.