Today I bring you the two real highlights of Underworld's amazing sophomore release, which, if you can remember, I glossed over in my last post. Not anymore.
The first track you'll get to hear is Underworld revealing their darker side, but amazingly. It's another notable release you may have heard of without any real vested interest in Underworld, and one of their few to use breakbeats. It has a rhythm that shudders, a synth that flows menacingly, and some insaaaane vocals from Karl Hyde. In layman's terms, this song is "Crazycrazycrazycrazycrazycrazycrazycrazycrazy *beat*".
Ladies and Gentlemen... Pearl's Girl.
Underworld - Pearl's Girl [right click to download]
The other highlight of the album is in some ways similar, but in others soooooo different from Pearl's Girl. Similar: They're on the same key, they both have relentless beats, and, I suspect, the latter emerged out of a Pearl's Girl remix. Different: The latter is almost twice as long as Pearl's Girl, which, at 9:36, is no 3-second interlude itself, is uplifting and epic, and seems to have its roots in the mind-blowing Prog Rock suites of the 70's. "The latter", if you're amongst the informed Underworld fans, is, of course, "Juanita/Kiteless/To Dream... Of Love?", or "Juanita" for short. Yeah.
This 16-minute minisuite is Underworld's longest track ever released on a studio album, a title previously held by 1992's 13-minute "Mmm Skyscraper... I Love You". While the lines between the movements are easily blurred, here is a short summary for the sake of cohesiveness in the song:
Juanita: The eponymous first movement begins with a simple beat, giving a driving force for the rest of the track. Then Karl comes in with a robotic voice behind him (when played live, this movement was so heavily vocodered that you couldn't tell Karl was singing until To Dream... Of Love?). Near the end of Juanita, a synth comes tinkling in that serves as a preface to the piano which becomes the main basis of the next two movements.
Kiteless: A fun instrumental that dominates the middle of the suite and makes an easy transition between the two movements that bookend it. The "tumbling" synth is normally used as a live outro, transitioning into whatever track followed very well.
To Dream... Of Love?: A fitting close to the suite. Karl sings normally at last, bringing epiphany after euphoric epiphany in his closing words. Finally, the song ends with a Chipmunk'd Karl reciting a list of colors ("Cutting" appears once) with a few instances of regular Karl chiming in with a color of his own.
But enough of my jabber! Time to hear the track!
Underworld - Juanita/Kiteless/To Dream... Of Love? [right click to download]
Reminding you that long posts are just as good as short, unless the short post is bad,