The Fall – Singles 1978-2016 CD Box Set

The Fall - The Singles 1978-2016 7x CD Box set
The Fall – The Singles 1978-2016

So, 50 odd singles and 30 odd albums, over 40 bloody odd years, brings us to this, The Fall – Singles 1978-2016 7x CD Box Set  released by Cherry Red Records.  The first time all of the singles and b-sides have been gathered together, re-mastered and nicely compiled with an illustrated book, just in time for Christmas.  Where do you start with that lot?

Every Fall fan has their favourite period.  For me it’s the drunken chaos years of the late 90s, when they’d fallen so low they had to sell their CDs from the merchandise table.  For others it’ll be the initial fire-and-brimstone-and-speed burst of Bingo Master’s Breakout and Rowche Rumble or the glorious and commanding majesty of the Grotesque, Slates, Hex Enduction Hour albums.  Maybe the Brix-almost-pop-star years of C.R.E.E.P and Cruiser’s  Creek or the Fontana-and-brandy years of Extricate, Shiftwork and Code Selfish.  Quite possibly, the beats-and-ecstasy triumph of the Infotainment Scan or the hangover years, from the brilliant Cerebral Caustic onwards where it all very nearly came apart, or the resurgence of the blinding Touch Sensitive and Theme From Sparta F.C. singles…..or maybe the recent period of relative stability with the current line-up….whatever, it’s a cracking story that’s still unfolding (fingers crossed Mark E Smith comes through his current illness to pull it out the bag, again).

I came to The Fall late….I’d asked for their 2nd album Dragnet as a Christmas present in 1979 but, for an 11 year old, up against London Calling and my brother’s Setting Sons and One Step Beyond, it didn’t stand a chance… far too spikey, far too strange.  It got the odd spin, but it wasn’t something you talked about to your mates (some things don’t change).  But it stayed with me.  I knew there was something there for me. I kept half an eye on them, and then in 2004, I spent a few months on a job that just needed me to get my head down and switch off. I needed something specific to listen to. I popped into the HMV round the corner and, after browsing a fair while, picked up 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong – a double CD of stuff picking through the singles and notables in chronological order.  It was good…weird but good.  I listened again and again for days and days on my CD walkman. I kept coming back for more, trying to find the key to the way in, until….midway through Crop Dust (a sludgy relentless pounding from 2002’s sublime Are You Are Missing Winner), wallop!….the door burst wide open and it was suddenly blindingly obvious that this was a work of towering fucking genius!

So started seven or eight years of joyful obsession.  I didn’t listen to anything else.  I didn’t need to.  There was so much of this stuff and, anyway, everything else sounded unnecessary.  It just wasn’t worth my time.  I’m out of it now, sadly.  You can’t maintain that level of beautifully fierce devotion indefinitely.  But I still bloody love ’em.  I still buy everything the day it comes out, I still adore it, and I think I always will.  But I don’t pin strangers to the walls of pubs anymore, explaining exactly why Hex Enduction Hour is the greatest achievement in recorded history (‘because it just is!’).

But what about the box set? Is it worth having? Well, that’s a difficult one.  It’s thrilling stuff from beginning to end; and for Fall fans, it’s great to have it all on one collection for the first time.  So yes, I heartily recommend you go out and buy it.  But at the same time, those same people are going to have this stuff three times over already (on that note, I was looking forward to seeing Scareball, one of the extended b-sides from 1998’s Masquerade single, get a digital release here, but sadly there’s only room for one b-side per single).

For me, the singles give a patchy view of the real highlights…hats off and raise a glass to Container Drivers, New Face In Hell, The Classical, Eat Y’Self Fitter, No Bulbs, Gross Chapel, The Birmingham School of Business School, M5, Feeling Numb, Cyber Insekt, Blindness, Fall Sound, Auto Chip etc etc.

So if you’re looking for a way in, this probably isn’t the place to start.  Try 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong for that.  Sod it! I’ll even make you a playlist, then you can hunt around for that key to your own way in.  Or kick the door down and demand entrance….it’s a fucking wonderful world. Best of luck!

THE FALL SINGLES 1978-2016 CD BOX SET

DISC ONE – SINGLES

  1. BINGO-MASTER
  2. IT’S THE NEW THING
  3. ROWCHE RUMBLE
  4. FIERY JACK
  5. HOW I WROTE ‘ELASTIC MAN’
  6. TOTALLY WIRED
  7. LIE DREAM OF A CASINO SOUL
  8. LOOK, KNOW
  9. THE MAN WHOSE HEAD EXPANDED
  10. KICKER CONSPIRACY
  11. MARQUIS CHA-CHA
  12. OH! BROTHER
  13. C.R.E.E.P.
  14. DRAYGO’S GUILT
  15. COULDN’T GET AHEAD
  16. CRUISER’S CREEK

DISC TWO – SINGLES

  1. LIVING TOO LATE
  2. MR. PHARMACIST
  3. HEY! LUCIANI
  4. THERE’S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE
  5. HIT THE NORTH PART 1
  6. VICTORIA
  7. JERUSALEM
  8. CAB IT UP
  9. TELEPHONE THING
  10. POPCORN DOUBLE FEATURE
  11. WHITE LIGHTNING
  12. HIGH TENSION LINE
  13. FREE RANGE
  14. ED’S BABE
  15. WHY ARE PEOPLE GRUDGEFUL?
  16. BEHIND THE COUNTER
  17. 15 WAYS
  18. THE CHISELERS

DISC THREE – SINGLES

  1. MASQUERADE
  2. TOUCH SENSITIVE
  3. F-‘OLDIN’ MONEY
  4. RUDE (ALL THE TIME)
  5. SUSAN VS YOUTHCLUB
  6. (WE WISH YOU) A PROTEIN CHRISTMAS
  7. THEME FROM SPARTA F.C. #2
  8. DISTILLED MUG ART (MIX 15)
  9. I CAN HEAR THE GRASS GROW
  10. REFORMATION! (UNCUT)
  11. SLIPPY FLOOR (MARK MIX)
  12. BURY! #2+4
  13. LAPTOP DOG
  14. VICTROLA TIME
  15. SIR WILLIAM WRAY (SINGLE MIX)
  16. THE REMAINDERER
  17. WISE OL MAN

DISC FOUR – B-SIDES

  1. PSYCHO MAFIA
  2. REPETITION
  3. VARIOUS TIMES
  4. IN MY AREA
  5. 2ND DARK AGE
  6. PSYKICK DANCEHALL #2
  7. CITY HOBGOBLINS
  8. PUTTA BLOCK
  9. FANTASTIC LIFE
  10. I’M INTO C.B.
  11. LUDD GANG
  12. WINGS
  13. ROOM TO LIVE
  14. GOD-BOX
  15. O! BROTHER

DISC FIVE – B-SIDES

  1. PAT-TRIP DISPENSER
  2. C.R.E.E.P
  3. CLEAR OFF
  4. NO BULBS
  5. ROLLIN’ DANY
  6. PETTY (THIEF) LOUT
  7. L.A.
  8. VIXEN
  9. HOT AFTERSHAVE BOP
  10. LIVING TOO LONG
  11. LUCIFER OVER LANCASHIRE
  12. AUTO TECH PILOT
  13. ENTITLED
  14. SHOULDER PADS #1B

DISC SIX – B-SIDES

  1. HAF FOUND BORMANN
  2. HIT THE NORTH PART 2
  3. TUFF LIFE BOOOGIE
  4. ACID PRIEST 2088
  5. DEAD BEAT DESCENDANT
  6. BRITISH PEOPLE IN HOT WEATHER
  7. BUTTERFLIES 4 BRAINS
  8. ZANDRA
  9. BLOOD OUTTA STONE
  10. XMAS WITH SIMON
  11. EVERYTHING HURTZ
  12. PUMPKIN HEAD XSCAPES
  13. GLAM RACKET
  14. WAR
  15. HEY! STUDENT
  16. THE $500 BOTTLE OF WINE
  17. CHILINIST
  18. MASQUERADE (PWL MIX)
  19. TOUCH SENSITIVE (DANCE MIX)
  20. ANTIDOTE

DISC SEVEN – B-SIDES

  1. PERFECT DAY (NEW VERSION)
  2. I WAKE UP IN THE CITY
  3. JANET VS JOHNNY
  4. (WE ARE) MOD MOCK GOTH
  5. MY EX CLASSMATE’S KIDS (LIVE)
  6. I WAKE UP IN THE CITY (MIX 5)
  7. CLASP HANDS
  8. OVER OVER (ROUGH MIX)
  9. HOT CAKE – PART 2
  10. COWBOY GREGORI
  11. COSMOS 7
  12. MONOCARD (LUNATIC MIX)
  13. TAKING OFF (LIVE)
  14. JETPLANE
  15. HITTITE MAN (SINGLE MIX)
  16. AMORATOR!
  17. ALL LEAVE CANCELLED

The Fall – Singles 1978-2016 7x CD Box Set is due to be released on 24th November on Cherry Red.  All seven discs have been re-mastered by Fall engineer Andy Pearce and come with a newly designed book in a box.

Also available as an edited 3-CD set (CDTRED 700) which features all of the A-Sides and is released on the same day.

Kula Shaker Play K for UK Dates

Kula Shaker
Kula Shaker

It’s been 20 years since Kula Shaker exploded into the UK Britpop Scene with their million selling debut album K.  Their brand of esoteric psychedelic pop rock, full of Eastern mysticism made them one the most unique (often termed eccentric) of the Brit Pop bands in the 1990s.

This year Kula Shaker are back together playing intense live performances as witnessed at the Roundhouse earlier this year.  Govinda sung entirely in Sanskrit and the only Sanskrit top 10 UK single ever,  is still chanted by the crowds that attend the shows.  Tattva, Hey Dude, through to the hit single Hush are all great songs that still sound as fresh today, 20 years on.

Further celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of the ‘K’ album will see the band performing ‘K’ in its entirety, alongside songs from the rest of their four albums, on their UK December tour.

Kula Shaker UK dates:

1 December   OXFORD, Academy

5 December   NORWICH, UEA

6 December   GUILDFORD, G Live

8 December   LONDON, Forum

9 December   LONDON, Forum

10 December   MANCHESTER, Albert Hall

11 December   BIRMINGHAM, Institute

13 December   BRISTOL, Academy

14 December   LIVERPOOL, Academy

15 December   NEWCASTLE, Academy

17 December   LEEDS, Academy

18 December   GLASGOW, O2 ABC

For tickets visit:  http://www.kulashaker.co.uk/

Beck’s Odelay, Sea Change & Guero to be reissued on vinyl

Beck albums reissued on vinylSince introducing himself to the world in 1994 with his genre-defying, multi-platinum debut, Mellow Gold, Beck has blazed a path into the future while simultaneously foraging through the past. Throughout his singular career he has utilized all manners and eras of music, blurring boundaries and shattering expectations with each album. From the world-tripping atmospherics of 1998’s Mutations and the florescent funk of 1999’s Midnite Vultures through the somber reflections of 2002’s Sea Change, 2005’s platinum tour de force Guero and 2006’s sprawling The Information, no Beck record has ever sounded like its predecessor.

Universal  are to reissue Beck’s entire envelope-pushing DGC/Geffen/Interscope back catalogue on vinyl, beginning on 28th October with the trifecta of his 1996 GRAMMY® Award-winning single LP game-changer, Odelay, 2002’s beautiful, brokenhearted, Sea Change, and 2005’s Guero, which saw Beck reunite with the Dust Brothers. Sea Change will be released as a double LP while Guero will be made available for the first time ever as a single LP. Mellow Gold, Mutations, Midnight Vultures, The Information and Modern Guilt will be announced at a later date.

Originally released 20 years ago on June 18, 1996 on DGC, Odelay was Beck’s breakthrough follow-up to his platinum bow, Mellow Gold. Selling more than two million copies in the US, the double-platinum-certified Odelay featured classics that loom large in Beck’s live sets to this day, including “Where It’s At,” “Devils Haircut” and “The New Pollution.” Odelay won two GRAMMY® Awards in 1997, Best Alternative Music Album and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Where It’s At,” and was Beck’s first album to be nominated for Album of the Year—the top honor his most recent album Morning Phase took home last year. Produced by Beck with collaborators the Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato Jr., Brian Paulson, Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf, Odelay continued to demonstrate and expand upon Beck’s eclectic stylistic palette. It was universally praised upon its release, named Album of the Year in both Rolling Stone and the prestigious Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, as well as the U.K. New Musical Express’ critics’ poll, where the album represented Beck’s platinum breakthrough in the UK. In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Odelay one of the greatest albums of all time, while Rolling Stone ranked it in its 2003 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” and #9 on its list of the “100 Best Albums of the 1990s.”

Beck’s seventh album, Sea Change, signified a dramatic musical shift in sound and tone from its predecessor, the funky, R&B-influenced Midnite Vultures, and as its title suggested, was a profound transformation. Inspired by the dissolution of a longtime relationship, Beck transformed his sadness into both his most personal and beautiful record to date, trading his trademark sample-filled songs and impressionistic, irreverent lyrics for pensive melodies, sweeping strings and direct, confessional lyrics. Produced by Nigel Godrich, the album, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200, was made with a full band which included guitarist Smokey Hormel, keyboard player Roger Manning, drummer Joey Waronker; Beck’s father, David Campbell, provided string arrangements. While widely praised upon release in 2002, the album has only grown in stature. Rolling Stone’s David Fricke hailed it as “the best album Beck has ever made,” adding it’s his “Blood On The Tracks,” and the record was listed in their 2009 definitive list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and the “100 Best Albums of the 2000s.” In SPIN’s 10-year anniversary piece, they declared it “the best melancholy album of the millennium” while The Guardian called it “his masterpiece.” The album will be released as a double LP with a download card featuring 320kbps AAC MP4 audio files of the entire album.

Beck kept fans and critics guessing about how he’d follow up Sea Change and in 2005 released the genre-mashing Guero which shot to #2 on the Billboard Top 200–his highest charting album to date. Beck’s eighth album saw him reuniting with the Dust Brothers with an assist from producer Tony Hoffer (Midnite Vultures), for a tour de force of Latin rhythms, rhymes, guitars, beats, samples, 8-bit electronics, turntables and vocoder for a fun and freewheeling ride through rock, hip-hop, boss nova, country-blues and soul. Album opener and lead single, “E-Pro” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart, while “Girl,” “Hell Yes,” “Go It Alone” (featuring Jack White on bass) and more became instant fan favorites. The album was a hit with critics as well with New York magazine enthusing, “Beck integrates his personae into a fairly seamless whole, and his knack for synthesizing disparate musical elements (hip-hop, robot funk, blues, country, jazz, garage rock, etc.) extends beyond samples and individual tracks. The songs migrate smoothly from one to the next; there aren’t any throwaway numbers to sabotage the album’s momentum; the whole thing coheres,” while Rolling Stone dubbed it “his liveliest and jumpiest music in years.

BECK – ODELAY TRACK LISTING

SIDE A
1. Devils Haircut
2. Hotwax
3. Lord Only Knows
4. The New Pollution
5. Derelict
6. Novacane
7. Jack-Ass

SIDE B
8. Where It’s At
9. Minus
10. Sissyneck
11. Readymade
12. High 5 (Rock the Catskills)
13. Ramshackle

BECK – SEA CHANGE TRACK LISTING

SIDE A
1. The Golden Age
2. Paper Tiger
3. Guess I’m Doing Fine
SIDE B
4. Lonesome Tears
5. Lost Cause
6. End Of The Day
SIDE C
7. It’s All In Your Mind
8. Round The Bend
9. Already Dead
SIDE D
10. Sunday Sun
11. Little One
13. Side Of The Road

BECK – GUERO TRACK LISTING
SIDE A
1. E-Pro
2. Qué Onda Guero
3. Girl
4. Missing
5. Black Tambourine
6. Earthquake Weather

SIDE B
7. Hell Yes
8. Broken Drum
9. Scarecrow
10. Go It Alone
11. Farewell Ride
12. Rental Car
13. Emergency Exit

Storm Static Sleep – A Pathway Through Post-Rock by Jack Chuter

Storm Static Sleep - A Pathway Through Post-Rock by Jack Chuter

I believe most music genres are nothing more than suitable titles for journalists to write about something of nothing.  Brit Pop is probably the best example. Where there was no movement, no classification and generally speaking, nothing cohesive about the artists that were told they belonged to this genre.  Simply devised as a way for British journalists to write about home grown music, swamped by American culture, in much the same way Cliff Richard was hyped by the NME in the 1950s as our very own answer to Elvis Presley,   Brit Pop was nothing more than British Pop Music!

So I was intrigued to read Jack Chuter‘s new book, Storm Static Sleep – A Pathway Through Post-Rock.  A genre name that was originally coined by music journalist Simon Reynolds in a Melody Maker article in 1993.  He went on to use the term several times until the term began to get used in wider circles. One phrase he used to somehow gel different artists with one tag is “rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes” – a definition Reynolds used in a 1994 article for The Wire.

Jack Chuter introduces his book and the foundations of post-rock by way of a sea-change in the music emanating from two bands independently at the turn of the 1990s.  Talk Talk in London and Slint in Louisville USA.

At the time, I was deeply absorbed by Talk Talk and the way they had re-created themselves from being a second-rate synth pop boy band in the early 1980s to the altogether more brooding, spacey and jazz-influenced direction of The Colour Of Spring in 1986.  While their last album, The Laughing Stock (1991) is one of the most dynamic, powerful and absorbing albums I have ever heard. For me, there was a natural progression from The Colour Of Spring, through Spirit Of Eden (1988) and arriving at a masterpiece.  But even so, it was unlike anything I had ever heard before.  But disenchanted with the music press some years before, I was unaware I was listening to something that would be generally be perceived as the foundation of post-rock.

Storm Static Sleep chronicles the evolution of post-rock and it’s rise in popularity through chapters covering the bands that have defined the genre.  In writing this book, Jack Chuter undertook over 30 interviews with some of the most influential names and figures including Mogwai, Tortoise, Steve Albini, Mono, Isis, Slint, Sunn O))), This Will Destroy You, Disco Inferno, Piano Magic, Constellation Records as well as writer Simon Reynolds, the main proliferator of the term ‘post-rock’ itself.

Each chapter of the book explores a different stage of post-rock’s development, by looking at the influence and sound of key bands as well as the insight of influential writers of the time. The chapters not only discuss how the bands all fit within the post-rock bracket but they also explore what directed them to this particular style and what they achieved musically in doing so. ‘Storm Static Sleep’ doesn’t just set out to explicate and contextualise the history of post-rock, but to also re-define what post-rock actually is and means to those who were and are directly and inadvertently enveloped by the term.

In one chapter, Chuter interviews Simon Reynolds.  As I began reading the book my head was filled with other likely contenders to the roots of post-rock.  The likes of Public Image, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Krautrock,  Prog Rock – artists and previous genres that would most definitely have influenced this so-called movement, if not be tenuously connected by the definitions themselves.  A smile spread across my face as the Chuter and Reynolds recounted the very same names and thoughts, in the book.

“In some ways ‘post-rock’ is just a continuation of impulses that crop up within the progressive era, and then again with post-punk. Leaving behind rock, taking on outside influences, responding to the cutting edge of black music, etherealizing to the point of losing the rhythmic pulse ” – Simon Reynolds,

Over the past twenty-five years post-rock has evolved from a handful of bands challenging the dynamics, timbre and conventional format and concept of rock songwriting, into a scene with a huge international community of likeminded artists and fans. Not only does post-rock now have its own dedicated festivals such as ArcTanGent but it is also widely used in soundtracks, advertising and has become a broadly accepted genre that attracts new listeners every day.

Storm Static Sleep is a brilliant read.  The best book on music I have read for a very long time.  It’s up there with Simon Reynolds’ fantastic Rip It Up & Start Again on post-punk music for the very same reasons – it is very well written, and with such passion and knowledge that Chuter’s enthusiasm adorns every page.

Storm Static Sleep – A Pathway Through Post-Rock by Jack Chuter is published by Function Books.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckNZljhwLfs&list=PL169FE4304299DB21

Underworld – Second Toughest In The Infants – 4CD deluxe edition review

Underworld - Second Toughest In The Infants Deluxe Edition
Underworld - Second Toughest In The Infants Deluxe Edition

Ahead of its 20th anniversary next year, Underworld re-release their masterpiece, Second Toughest In The Infants as a deluxe re-mastered reissue in several formats via Universal on 20th November

(What’s The Story) Morning Glory may well have been the biggest selling album of the 1990s.  But for me, Underworld’s Second Toughest In The Infants was the most interesting, timely and ultimately, my favourite album of the decade. It caught Underworld at their most creative and diverse – exploring themes and rhythms unlike any of their contemporaries, and in the processing stretching boundaries and genre-defining boxes.  Similar to the mock metal band Bad News, with Second Toughest in the Infants, Underworld wasn’t sitting on the fence.  They were trying to burn the fence down; and who wants to sit on a burning fence? I think that says a lot!

Underworld circa 1996 - Darren Emerson, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith
Underworld circa 1996 - Darren Emerson, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith

Following on from the groundbreaking Dubnobasswithmyheadman, their debut album as a three-piece, with Darren Emerson joining Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, and following their new musical explorations, Second Toughest In The Infants takes giant leaps forward in every way.

My working definition of a ‘classic album‘ is a complete album with ‘all thrillers & no fillers!‘, timeless and one I never tire of listening to. For all those reasons, Underworld’s Second Toughest In The Infants is a classic album; one of my favourite all-time favourites of all-time.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6pouE8YmoQ

The album begins with a rush, ‘Juanita: Kiteless: To Dream Of Love‘, a 16 minute song that takes you on a fast and furious journey without hesitation. Rather like ‘Dark & Long‘ (opening track on Dubnobasswithmyheadman) on cocaine, if you will. The pounding beat gets stronger, heavier as it drives forward with each layer of rhythm as Karl Hyde’s filtered spoken words take a step back ‘Resonator, resonator, resonator, resonator‘. The track builds for six minutes before relenting. From here on, the track explores different rhythms akin to its own 12″ remix. All the time the power and driving beats keep ‘Juanita: Kiteless‘ alive and pulsing with adrenalin rush.

Listening to this re-mastered version of ‘Juanita: Kiteless: To Dream Of Love‘ leaves me with a feeling of exhaustion and shell-shocked delight, as it did 19 years ago.

Next up is ‘Banstyle / Sappys Curry‘ and a change in style.  Mellow with a skipping uptempo beat, taking a tip from the jazz ‘n bass style of the time, led by the likes of Roni Size & Reprazent.  ‘Banstyle / Sappys Curry‘ is a great rest bite after the impact and power of ‘Juanita: Kiteless’. If this is a concept album, then we have already entered a chillout zone.  The frantic beat gives way to a heavy heavy dub bass drop, and if the first journey was speed-induced, the room is subsequently filled with smoke!

Weighing in at over 31 minutes long, the opening two tracks have time to breathe and explore.  Rather than being suffocated by hampering thoughts of radio airplay or commercial verse/chorus verse/chorus pop structures that swallowed up some of their contemporaries.

Confusion the Waitress‘ continues in a lighter frame of mind.  Which only enhances the arrival of ‘Rowla‘.  Sequencer loop acts like a roll call to introduce a stomping four-to-the-floor beat and acid trance that filters and grows as it pulsates from the speakers into your head.  ‘Rowla‘ is a simple tune compared to the other tracks on the album.  But each time it builds you find yourself being dragged by its gravitational pull. Simple and effective.

After being completely mesmerised by earlier tracks ‘Cowgirl‘, ‘Rez‘ and yes of course, the original 11 minute (NUXX) version of ‘Born Slippy‘, it was difficult to comprehend that, within such a great album there would still be one track that, above all others would still manage to send shivers down my spine and simply blow my mind.  I still remember listening  to ‘Pearl’s Girl‘ for the first time.  But unlike other songs I loved of the same period, the power of this song remains the same and still completely resonates with me, today.  From its initial darker, moody intro, the track develops, building and opening, until that beat hits you full on for the first time. Hands down, at that moment, it was the most amazing sound ever to fill my head. CRAZY!CRAZY! CRAZY! CRAZY!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5GjVvlmg3o

Air Towel‘ follows in the wake of ‘Pearl’s Girl‘.  For a track that is the equivalent of following Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United or auditioning as lead singer of Joy Division after the suicide of Ian Curtis, the track works by moving the album in yet another direction.  Lighter, trippy and spacious; and with ‘Blueski‘ we are taken completely away from the dancefloor, electronic sequencers and beats.  Ramblings on an acoustic guitar sampled, filtered and looped in a dream-like sequence akin to a mantra for mindfulness; and finally we arrive at the final track.  ‘Stagger’ errs towards experimental.  Piano and Karl Hyde’s  vocals are drenched in echo to give a dreamy synth pop, closer to Hyde and Smith’s earlier 1980s incarnation.

With Second Toughest In The Infants, Underworld managed to explore new electronic landscapes and create a timeless album.  It was undoubtedly the pinnacle of their many glories; and at the same time they managed to develop and produce one of the best dance songs of all-time in ‘Born Slippy‘. Originally released in March 1996, Second Toughest In The Infants is Underworld’s masterpiece. It is the perfect hybrid of man and machine. It’s a record that crackles with the frantic energy of pirate stations half tuned on FM dials; one that strolls through grimy cities at night and ducks between dog tracks and neon-lit all-night stores. Lyrically, it’s Karl Hyde at his voyeuristic most ingenious; and although informed by the nascent drum ’n’ bass scene, minimalist composition and the European techno underground, Second Toughest In The Infants  only ends up sounding like Underworld. It’s a truly unique album – the sound of Rick Smith, Karl Hyde and Darren Emerson working at the height of their powers, utterly unaffected by the prevailing trends of the time and creating effortlessly peerless music.

The deluxe editions come packed with  remixes, non-album B-sides, and unreleased tracks. The fourth disc of the super deluxe edition traces the evolution of the group’s 1995 single ‘Born Slippy (Nuxx)‘ from early recordings through to the finished studio version. The super deluxe edition also comes with a 60-page book of artwork by  Karl Hyde & Rick Smith’s design company, Tomato.  The book also includes notes by Jon Savage.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOi8Gnq_z_U

Underworld – Second Toughest In The Infants
Super Deluxe 4 CD Tracklisting

CD1 (Orinigal Album)
1. Juanita: Kiteless: To Dream Of Love
2. Banstyle / Sappys Curry
3. Confusion the Waitress
4. Rowla
5. Pearl’s Girl
6. Air Towel
7. Blueski
8. Stagger

CD2: singles, B sides, remixes
1. Cherry Pie
2. Oich Oich
3. Puppies
4. Mosaic
5. Deep Arch
6. Pearl’s Girl (Tin There)
7. Pearl’s Girl (14996 Version)
8. Born Slippy (Original Instrumental Version)
9. Born Slippy Nuxx (Deep Pan)

CD3: previously unreleased material
1. Bug
2. Confusion The Waitress (She Said)
3. D+B Thing
4. D’Arbly St
5. 4 Crowns
6. Rowla A1806
7. Bing Here
8. Techno Thang
9. Pearls Ver2
10. Bloody 1

CD4: Born Slippy (Nuxx) – previously unreleased demos, live recordings, mixes

1. Nuxx A1796
2. Nuxx A2221 UW live (2 sets) Leicester M Dog 94
3. Nuxx A4712 Live @ Zap club Brighton Feb94
4. Nuxx A4733 UW live Amsterdam Apr94
5. Nuxx Liquid Room 94 A2254 UW Live Liquid Room 2 Tokyo
6. Nuxx from A1825
7. Born Slippy (Nuxx)

Underworld – The Second Toughest In The Infants Deluxe Edition was re-mastered at Abbey Road and will be released as a CD, a 2xCD deluxe edition, a double LP, and as a 4xCD super deluxe edition on 20th November, 2015 via Universal.