Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Before We Shouted Lager

Underworld - Spikee
Underworld - Dogman Go Woof

After their phenomenal debut album 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman', and before they unwittingly gave lager louts everywhere a post-pub chant all of their own with the junkie anthem 'Born Slippy', Underworld squeezed out this fantastic double header to very little acclaim. It was 1993 to be precise, the week before Christmas, and I definitely think it's one worth revisiting. 'Spikee' and 'Dogman Go Woof' are both 12 minute epics of the progressive variety - that is prog as in overly long and rather self-indulgent, but I think they can be excused when it sounds this good. Released on 12" and CD by Junior Boy's Own, it was only made available for one week, and wasn't released anywhere outside of the UK. According to the entry at discogs.com, 'Spikee' was described by the NME as like "driving at 60mph down winding country roads with your eyes closed, at night", which I'm pretty sure I must have done at some stage in my life, probably listening to 'Spikee' at the same time. 'Spikee' is a thumper, with Karl Hyde's vocals chopped up to render them even more incomprehensible than usual. Only his request to "Feel yourself" is crystal, though probably not a call for spontaneous group masturbation. This is classic Underworld; an epic percussive voyage with pummelling synth lines, produced for both mind and feet, and with a sublime final few minutes, when Hyde busts out his guitar and fires off a reverb drenched riff that will send your eyeballs rolling into the back of your head in rapturous celebration. 'Dogman Go Woof' is what is described in the trade as a 'chugger'. It's the sort of magnificent, drum-heavy trip you're so pleased to hear played at raves at about 4am when you're tired of the endless peaks and just want something solid to drop so you can dance like Paula Radcliffe running on the spot in slow-mo for half an hour or so. To ensure your mind continues to unravel, the boys kindly add a vast array of spangly noises and filtered effects into the mix. Bloody marvellous.

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