Monday, November 03, 2008

Underworld - Oblivion With Bells

The latest issue of Skyscraper should hit stands soon. Here are three of my reviews from the previous issue. 

Oblivion with Bells (CD) – Ato 

Overall, Oblivion With Bells is more about shy tintinnabulation than thudding beats, so club kids looking for more heaving dancefloor filler like “Pearl's Girl” or “Born Slippy” may want to look elsewhere. Still, Oblivion – Underworld's eighth album proper – does reward with subtle, sophisticated artisanship. While “Crocodile” does attempt to fill the obligatory banging club track slot, it's not the most noteworthy track, even if it does share moments of shivery elegance. More compelling, even cinematic is the gorgeous “Beautiful Burnout” throughout which Karl intones about “blood on a tissue on the floor of a train.” Over five minutes into the track, clattering percussion slips in, a spine-tingling moment during a recent Underworld concert. If you can get past Hyde's idiosyncratic rapping, “Ring Road” proves another standout track. Aboriginal rhythms and didgeridoo give way to thumping bass, as Hyde riffs on London’s multi-culti street scene. “To Heal” opens with a burst of sound that sounds alarmingly like the opening note to the Simpson’s theme. It quickly transmutes, however, into a quiet, meditative piece, which sounds more like a consciousness gradually tinkling to life. Oblivion may mystify the “lager, lager” set, but it should satisfy those who allow it to envelop them over a few listens. – Robert Stribley 

This review was originally published in Skyscraper Magazine, Issue 28 (Summer 2008)

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