Sadly, DJ Darren Emerson had decided to call it quits as part of the Underworld trio by the year 2000, likely for a multitude of reasons, but his excuse was parenting. In retrospect, this album release was, therefore, mark II of Underworld. This was a serious and negative event for Underworld to lose their third member. Could the famous duo of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith continue to make worthwhile music, even without Darren Emerson as their collaborator? We shall hear this on this album release.
Mo Move launches the album with some interesting melodic loops, quickly entering a cybertronic piece that sounds quite good. This is a soothing, warm and fairly ambient styled listening experience that just is relaxing to hear. This is very good music to begin this album with. Karl Hyde’s simple vocals are reflective and different, and the music here is as good as earlier Underworld music. Eventually, this piece becomes quite danceable and uniquely wonderful, in its own way. This is a great listen for those who crave the nightclub lifestyle but want something genuine musically to explore. Ambient washes accompany a breakdown near the midsection, which is very cool. This is definitely interesting listening, and this is quite an underrated piece in Underworld’s back catalogue. Simple and beautiful, yet somewhat repetitive, Underworld still had the ability to keep going at this point, which is good of them. Some interesting bongo styled percussion occupies the second half of this track and makes this piece a little more unusual and surreal. All the same, this is good to hear, and certainly should be explored more by EDM fans out there than it currently is. Towards the end, this tune has some more prominent beats and ambient washes, before it begins to gradually wrap up. A good start to this album, this tune ends with a gradual fade out of its musical elements. Nice.
Two Months Off is the main track from this album. It begins with someone saying, “Shh!” and launches into a very Acid House and simple sounding tune. Some female speech is sampled here, which is very odd and unusual to listen to. It’s a weird sample of speech, but the instrumentation and progression of the track are really quite good. Eventually, beats enter and this piece gets driving along nicely. A good, simple and danceable tune. Some ambient melodies then enter this piece, and it comes alive very quickly. The main melody also enters this tune, and it really launches into musical action here. Nonetheless, this is a fantastic anthemic tune that must be heard by both EDM heads and Underworld fans alike. A great piece of awesome euphoria, this is a brilliant tune in retrospect. The quote throughout, “You bring light in” is awesome as well. Even if this is the project of some time off amidst some troubling times for Underworld, it is a great effort from start to finish. This tune sounds fantastically awesome and positive, like a ray of light from the clouds. The tune progresses nicely and naturally, and this music is one of Underworld’s best tunes out there, which is why it ended up on their compilations. A thoroughly listenable and enjoyable tune. In the second half, there is a breakdown with the sampled female speech again, and eventually builds the tune back up again in a fairly predictable way. Still, this is an amazing and fine listen from Karl Hyde and Rick Smith. It just works wonders and flows naturally, like a great piece of music should. Worth your ears, every moment of this tune. A grand, pretty and fantastic listen, this is certainly exciting and interesting to hear. A gem of a tune, and if you haven’t heard this, then you really should. An amazing and fruitful way to spend nine minutes of your life. It ends with percussion galore to fade out, which is nice.
Twist begins with some plain organ sounds and maraca styled percussion. This doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as the first two tracks. The melodies, textures and percussion sound as though they aren’t the best fit for each other here. Simple, but rather dull and uninspired, this is not the Underworld that gave us their 1990s hits. There is little excitement musically here, although one can understand the effort gone into it. It just doesn’t sound as magical or uplifting as previous Underworld tunes. A rather uninspired piece of music, sadly this is not what one would expect, with releases such as their debut album, dubnobasswithmyheadman. It’s okay, but not as good as one has hoped it to be. Also, the length for such a simple piece of music is rather long, at over six minutes in time. The second half has an organ led breakdown, with intermittent other musical sounds rushing into consciousness. Eventually, hi-hats enter and the main tune returns nicely. It’s okay, but still miles away from being a great, legendary piece of music. Sadly, Underworld are lacking inspiration here, and it shows in this tune. The outro is quite nice, though, but again this is enough to put one to sleep. Good, but definitely not great. It fades out at the end.
Sola Sistim is an exploratory, science fiction themed tune with breakbeats. It has some subdued vocal samples as well and sounds fairly repetitive. Again, this track here is likely too long for its own good. A good listen, some vocals enter nicely here, and this tune is weird and tripped out. Again, these tunes would have been bettered if DJ Darren Emerson had been part of the team behind Underworld. Still, this is okay, but not as descriptively textured nor as fascinatingly consistent as Underworld’s 1990s efforts. It does sound quite good, however, and is a spacey exploration musically through the solar system itself. A good tune to hear, this is a nice chilled-out piece of music that does sound quite surreal and relaxing. An interesting listening experience, this does sound very hazy and lazy in its mood. A good piece, and a highlight of this album. It has a lengthy and trippy second half, which sounds very decent and quite inspired here. Again, this is quite long but that is fine with this tune. It ends with some gorgeous melodies to conclude. A better effort overall.
Little Speaker is long, at over eight minutes in length. It begins with some muffled beats and textures, quickly launching into another very ordinary sounding tune. This is okay, but honestly not good enough for Underworld’s previously high standards. Regardless, it is a good tune but again, sounds like some magic is clearly missing. A good listen but it doesn’t really sound overly fantastic. Some sampled female speech is present here, and the tune builds up gradually as it goes on. It is difficult to understand what the lady is saying as her sampled speech is drowned in the mix. After a few minutes, the beats change a little and this tune continues on. It’s a bit of a drag, to be fair, and points to the fact that only Underworld fans would really think that this album is worth it. Some interesting keyboard melodies enter around the midsection, which makes a much-needed change for this tune. Still, this isn’t mind-blowingly good and lacks some musical mojo throughout. The album is listenable but not exciting or extraordinary, to be fair. Some persisting melodies are in the breakdown in the second half of this album, which sounds nice. Towards the end enter some unusually warm and ambient melodies to boot, which build up with the main piece of music here. A grooving bassline enters, and this piece gets underway again well. A bit of a predictable listen, but not bad all the same, even though it could have been bettered here. There are cut-up melodies and brilliant digital sounds to conclude here, after eight minutes. Another good tune by Underworld, it ends with a phase out of the sonic elements of this tune.
Trim begins with some weird beats and Country music sounding guitars. It is oddly groovy and somewhat catchy as well. It’s also not very good, Cowgirl was a far better tune than this one. Regardless, this is a good but lacking oddity in the Underworld back canon. A good listen if you like really weird music, but otherwise, it’s junk. That is likely why it is only just over three minutes long. A poor attempt at musical experimentation, this is not a great music listening experience. There are some random lyrics from Karl Hyde here, and this is definitely odd to listen to. Wacky music to hear, this eventually fades out gently. Fairly ordinary.
Ess Gee is even shorter. From the start, it is a bunch of melodic guitar parts that are pure filler. It’s nice and soothing, yet this is a faraway place musically than the earlier Underworld music was. Not really necessary, this could have been easily dropped from this album. Fortunately, it is only two minutes long. Still, Underworld had seen better days musically, and this tune, although okay, proves that this is the case. Not really needed here. It fades out gently as well.
Dinosaur Adventure 3D launches into a simple tune, complete with a bell chime. It’s fairly ordinary and predictable sounding music from Underworld. Some basic Roland TB-303 textures enter along with beats to dance to. This is a longer piece of music that lasts nearly eight minutes in length. A more traditionally oriented Underworld tune, minus the magic, it sounds interesting and has many layers of dynamics throughout. A fast-paced and energetic tune, this is a minor improvement on the shorter tracks that preceded it. Surely an understated track from this album, this is another okay piece to put on driving to your Saturday nightclub adventure. Good for what it is, some strange wordless vocals enter and this piece kicks along well. This piece should be in a videogame of sorts, it does justice and wonders for that sort of experience. Karl Hyde sings in a strange accent here, and the tune itself is quite lively. A pulsating and driven tune, this is one of the overlooked cuts of this fairly average album. In the second half is a good breakdown that does sound really different, with Karl Hyde’s vocals front and centre. He sounds like he is chanting here, which is different. Eventually, towards the end, the beats return and this piece reaches a fast-paced conclusion to finish up the track. Still, this is lacking some DJ Darren Emerson magic to hear. The tune ends with an abrupt stop. Not too bad.
Ballet Lane is another short track that isn’t overly impressive, yet again. Although this album reveals the more mellow side of Underworld, it is also Underworld’s less exciting side musically as well. Some nice guitar parts are played here, which are interesting. Still, it is a very pretty listening experience. This looks back to Underworld’s early incarnation as an average Rock band, rather than the EDM innovators they were afterwards. This music is okay, but not mind-blowingly fantastic. It is relaxing though, having said that. Some bongo beats are present in the second half, making this piece a bit more interesting. Still, this comes across as more filler. Which isn’t good. Enjoyable but not a classic tune. The end has some pretty organ and guitar melodies to conclude. It’s okay.
Luetin is the final track, at long last. It goes for seven minutes in length. It begins with an average Roland style melodic patch and has some boring beats and sounds to match the tune as well. Karl Hyde sings into a vocoder patch, and this is a bad track, easily the worst on the entire album. Nothing wonderful, enjoyable or special here, this is just the sound of Underworld stuck in a rut. Do skip this last tune if you can, there is little good about this rather ordinary piece. It also cements the fact that, with one man down, Underworld could not be anywhere near as consistent as they were previously. Repetitive, bland and banal, this is not the Underworld people love and are proud of. Instead, they are at a loss and are a shadow of their former selves. It’s barely passable this tune and ends a very average album on a poor note. Not too much more should be said about this awful tune, just avoid it. The second half is also as bad as the first half of this tune and goes well past its welcome. Rubbish, avoid it if you can. The repeated vocals don’t help, either. This is a very ordinary piece of music. Eventually, it does reach the end with a winding back of the percussion, leaving just the main melody. This then wraps up with repeated notes and sounds to finish this nonsense. Dull and bad.
This album is a failure, quite clearly. It seems okay musically, but particularly the last track drags this lacklustre effort musically down. Obviously, the Underworld duo never recovered musically from the loss of DJ Darren Emerson. Should you listen to this anyway? The clear answer is no unless you are a huge Underworld fan. Otherwise, avoid it like the plague.