Now don't get me wrong. I love this band. In fact I flew to New York a few weeks ago see them live as they only played a few dates in the US. I spent hundreds on airfare and hotels and such to finally see one of their legendary live sets. They were my second to last "holy grail" of bands that I need to see live. Now I only need to see Kraftwerk in concert and I'll be happy.
And they did not disappoint at all. It was awesome. They played nearly all the songs I wanted to hear. I was able to get this album a bit early because I pre-ordered it from a link they showed on screen after the show. And I got a cool T-Shirt to boot. Needless to say, I am a fan and I was super super excited to get this one.
But Oblivion With Bells is a departure for Underworld. It is "slooww" to say the least. I actually fast forwarded through tracks, which I would have never guessed me ever doing. Virtually nothing happens on tracks 8,9, and 10. Seriously, nothing. Thankfully a "token" beat comes in for the last track. I have since gone back and listened a couple more times since. And it has grown on me. But there are few beats to be heard on this record.
This is the album I would have expected Smith and Hyde to make after Darren Emerson departed. But with A Hundred days Off they kept the energy going from Beaucoup Fish and Second Toughest. It still had some fast, mean tracks like Dinosaur Adventure 3D.
But Oblivion is slowed down. Way down. Don't be fooled by Crocodiles. It is the non representative single. And it flows right into Beautiful Burnout nicely. But the beats and hooks are quite minimal. Almost like loops for Hyde to speak over. Nothing terribly innovative really.
Oblivion has nice sounds, great production and the expected stream of conscious Karl Hyde lyrics. In fact his lyrics are brought to the forefront like never before. Very much the focus of the songs this time around. And you can make them all out this time around.
But there are no break beat-ish tracks like Pearls Girl or Something Like A Mama on this. No ten minute build up tracks like Born Slippy/NUXX or Cups. Certainly no Cowgirl on this one. But hey, that's cool. Some of those tracks are over a decade old. Cowgirl is nearly 15 years old now (wow). We can't expect the same thing over and over from these guys. But just so you know, think Push Downstairs, not Push Upstairs for this record.
If you kept up with the River Run series, this has more in common with the third release.....slow building, even a bit dull but still Underworld.
Pick it up because you love Underworld. But expect something different.