Album Review: Anthology Underworld

25 March 2012 | 10:18 am | Staff Writer

Still, the third disc opens up a bounty of overlooked treats. On Big Meat Show, Hyde gets horny over Skyscraper style beats while...

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Agony rips through the heart of this writer when Underworld's name crops up in conversation. Inevitably, someone says, “Ooh! I LOVE Underneath The Radar!” Sure, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith's outfit were responsible for that Pseudo Echo sound-alike hit from the '80s, but it is Underworld (Mk 2) that is celebrated here, whenst they took on young DJ Darren Emerson and embarked on an exploration of rich techno worlds. Signed on as Music Directors for the London Olympic Games opening ceremony, Anthology's three discs shows exactly why we should be excited.

The first two discs are almost exactly as was on the first Anthology collection released in 2002, albeit with a couple of latter career appendixes. Included are the undisputed highlights – Cowgirl, Dirty Epic, Pearl's Girl all in their full versions with nothing clocking under seven-and-a-half minutes until the end of disc two. Whilst more attention is lavished on the Dubnobasswithmyheadman and Beaucoup Fish albums, just four tracks represent the last three. Still, the third disc opens up a bounty of overlooked treats. On Big Meat Show, Hyde gets horny over Skyscraper style beats while Why Why Why comes on like Aphex's twin and Minneapolis struts to big, bigger, biggest beats.

In partnership with Anthology is the single disc A Collection, which shoehorns 13 edits of tracks found here, plus three different (quality) rarities. Even at three discs, this is a comparatively brief but nourishing demonstration that there's much more to them than that '80s freak hit and shouting “lager-lager-lager”.