Junior Boys Own/V2
Underworld make long, pumping and relentless music with a command of form that is not shared by many of the other dance groups who make long, pumping and relentless music. Within the house electronique, the only band I can think of that comes close to them in terms of being able to sustain an album’s worth of material is the Orb.
Best known for the hit “Born Slippy,” which is forever linked to the film Trainspotting through its use on the soundtrack, Underworld has carved out a place for themselves over the past 12 years as mad geniuses of dance. Unlike most techno, this is boys’ own — Junior Boys Own, actually, their label — music that girls adore.
What sets Underworld apart, to my ears, is their refusal to fall into standard patterns of dance fare, which too often can turn boring and dreary and uninspired. On their best records, just when you think the mix has leveled off and you’ve heard every element, they add just a taste more. This makes for a fuller aural picture than most such bands can manage.
It’s like listening to machines that can recycle the stars. And speaking of recycling, this anthology does just that with some of the best music from the bands’ back pages. If you like electronica at all, and you haven’t already got their albums, this is something you need. Not want… need. But you should already know that.