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Classic Album Review: Underworld | Beaucoup Fish

The British electronica outfit's fifth LP is a sweeping 74-minute opus.

This came out in 1999 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Best known on this side of the pond for the track Born Slippy on the Trainspotting soundtrack, British techno geniuses Underworld have been an underground act in North America for years — perhaps no surprise from a band whose first album was fittingly titled Underneath The Radar.

If there’s any justice, all that will change with Beaucoup Fish, the trio’s most complex work to date and the undeniable electronica masterwork everybody has been predicting since Day 1. A sweeping 74-minute opus, Fish has beaucoup amounts of the relentless thump and throb of house, but without the predictable add-a-line, drop-a-line arrangement of most techno. Instead, it has the mind-warping innovation of prog-rock and the delicate sensibility and songcraft of pop smoothies like Roxy Music — in a beautifully twisted way. Example: Jumbo, with its washes of chill-out synths, samples of fishermen discussing vests on sale at Wal-Mart, and a refrain of one word whispered repeatedly: “Click.” It oughta click with you.