Created using everything they have learned through their time together, time spent touring the world coupled with what is happening in music at the present moment, it is an intriguing proposition. This album could turn out to be one of their most varied yet, but would that mean in terms of quality as well as style? "Crocodile" starts off the proceedings, and turns into a rather funky little number, after an initially off-the-scent-throwing intro. Karl Hyde proves to be on form vocally again, sounding very Gregorian in this opener, through the use of a very effected echo on his voice. "Beautiful Burnout" is the beautiful follower. It effortlessly glides into a slightly dark, trancey number, which had me thinking of late night train journeys through the not so hospitable parts of town; brilliantly moody with a jolting ending that brings you right back into the present moment.
"Holding the Moth" completes the opening trio of opening tracks, and is worthy of a mention through its complete difference in style, being very sophisticated and almost like lounge music in parts, the dominant instrument being a cheap sounding drum machine, added to with a delightfully plinky piano."Good Morning Cockerel" also makes use of the piano, but in a much more sombre, introspective track. The atmosphere is made so hazey you can almost feel the rays of the sun hitting your sleep deprived face.
Underworld have become known for their exceptional production skills, and quite rightly too - the skill with which they blend in and withdraw sounds, as well as the choices of sounds themselves sometimes being nothing more than inspired. "Oblivion with Bells" takes it one step further; the slickness between tracks, the tracks themselves, the instrumentation: quite simply breathtaking. Even when the tracks hit the eight minute mark (something I am prone to criticise, as largely this is too long to keep someone's attention, more often being a sign of self-indulgence), Underworld manage to provide some of their best moments. The longer tracks help to show something that is key to their sound - they are ever-changing, and always morphing. There really isn't a bad track in the whole set, and this album is guaranteed to have something for everyone through its sheer variety in styles, textures and range of complexities.
In general? One of, if not the best, Underworld album. Great tracks, great ideas, great production - what more could you ask for. Welcome back Underworld - it's been far too long.