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CD: Underworld - DRIFT Series 1 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Underworld - DRIFT Series 1

CD: Underworld - DRIFT Series 1

UK pioneering technoheads return with some fiery dancefloor fodder

Underworld meet Tom Jones in Peckham

Underworld’s first album in three years comes in two versions: a seven-CD box set with a disc of Blu-ray visuals and an 80-page full-colour book or a stand-alone ten-track sampler, which is also included in the gargantuan release. As theartsdesk has only been sent the single disc, we can only comment on the condensed version. This is, however, more than enough to excite interest in the present activities of a band that for a generation of old ravers provided the high point of many evenings on the dancefloor, shouting “lager, lager, lager, lager”. For while DRIFT Series 1 slips comfortably next to Underworld's mid-90s purple patch, it is both far more than a nostalgic re-tread of past glories and substantially more engaging than a disparate collection of tracks picked from a larger ensemble piece.

Accompanying Rick Smith’s glitchy beats and trancey grooves, Karl Hyde’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics are again present throughout, especially on “STAR (Rebel Tech)”, as he encounters David Bowie, Mary Shelley, Nye Bevan and Tom Jones making an unexpected appearance in Peckham. “Brilliant Yes That Would Be” takes a lead from Vangelis’ classic soundtrack to the first Blade Runner film with its wide-screen atmospherics. The sweaty dancefloor fodder of “This Must Be Drum Street”, “Listen To Their No” and “Border Country”, however, provide the real heft here, triggering memories of balmy adventures in crowded rooms from the days before soulless EDM super clubs with their clienteles forever recording things on mobile phones for social media “likes”.

DRIFT Series 1 is great stuff and a fine reminder of when techno was the soundtrack to times that had excitable tabloid editors freaking out rather than the lame background music that subsequently came to accompany everything from TV car adverts, computer games and visits to High Street chain stores.

It is far more than a nostalgic re-tread of past glories


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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