Following on the heels of the Dubnobasswithmyheadman Deluxe release, Underworld are back again with ‘Second Toughest in the Infants’ the fourth album in their catalogue. Remastered at Abby Road Studios and chock full of goodies, if you never got on this one the first time round, then there’s never been a better time to check it out. Released in 1996 and helped by the the single ‘Born Slippy’ which came out the previous year, Underworld were becoming unstoppable. Rick Smith, Karl Hyde and Darren Emerson had hit the floor running and with their creativity and solid production at an all time high ‘Second Toughest’ stands as piece of work that is not only timeless but has the unique sound of what we know today as ‘Underworld’. Techno, DnB, Deep House and ambient, its and electronic dream, perfectly crafted together with Karl Hyde’s spoken-word streams of consciousness.

The opener to the album is ‘Juanita: Kiteless: To Dream Of Love’  a sixteen minute epic Techno thumper which is relentless till it peaks into piano bliss. Each layer that builds seems to hook you in further and further till your hypnotised by its swirling textures. What Underworld manage to do throughout is find a perfect blend within the sounds and melodies that never becomes to heavy or to repetitive. ‘Pearl’s Girl’ is an obvious highlight of the album which was released also as a single, sharp kickin DnB beats, fluttering bass sounds and warm pads drive it on as Hyde’s rhythmic words lift it out into the stratosphere, if you though Underworld were just ‘Born Slippy (NUXX) then this may change your mind. It’s a Piece of work that has it all, from the smooth DnB of  Banstyle / Sappys Curry to the simple looping guitar samples of  Blueski, the ideas are diverse but all come together to make this a solid work. ‘Stagger’ which closes the album also shows that they can bring the tempo down to a lush ambient minimal flow with ease which ends with distant pounding drums before drawing to its close.

What’s wonderful is for people who may have overlooked the B-sides and remixes get a chance to hear that the Underworld quality pours over into the singles, the tracks feel more like extensions of the albums due to their sound and direction. On CD3 we get previously unreleased material that exposes different ideas and sketches which would develop into the finished ‘Second Toughest’ CD4 explores the different lives of Born Slippy (NUXX) from demos to live performances before ending on Born Slippy (NUXX) the definitive version. Side Note: ‘Born Slippy’ is and instrumental track and is also featured on this release (an old personal favourite of mine). This is a definite rabbit-hole of a release that will take you deeper and deeper into classic Underworld.sec

Second Toughest… 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 voyeurism from the molten core of the dancefloor – a place where fragments of overheard conversations are hand spliced to fizzling, sparking rhythm tracks to create a strange, dizzying, inimitable form of music.

Listen To Bloody 1 (previously Unreleased)

 

The Release comes as a Standard CD and Vinyl release that is the Eight track album, a Deluxe 2CD version and the 4CD Super-Deluxe Version.

Deluxe 2xCD

CD1:

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:

1.         Born Slippy (Original Instrumental Version)

2.         Cherry Pie

3.         Oich Oich

4.         Puppies

5.         Mosaic

6.         Deep Arch

7.         Confusion The Waitress (She Said)

8.         Rowla A1806

9.         Pearls Ver2

10.       Born Slippy (Nuxx)

 

Super Deluxe 4xCD

CD1:

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)

 

Available now through Universal Music catalogue & www.underworldlive.com