Back in college (and still today) I became fascinated with the whole dance/rave culture. Now, one would assume that this also meant that I hung out at a lot of clubs and took a fair share of mind bending substances (which outside of the occasional binge on rum and coke, would be false). But I was intrigued by the sounds of rave/house/dub music of the time. I discovered many of the big bands of the scene (Chemical Brothers, The Orb, Orbital) to be widly original and wildly different in their approach to making dance music. Then I got my hands on the first UNDERWORLD album.
DUBNOBASSWITHMYHEADMAN was unlike anything I had heard. The back story on these guys is actually pretty interesting (read it here). What struck me about these guys was the more pop centered approach to their sound. Whereas, the Chemical Brothers had a hip-hop influence and the Orb and Orbital were more straight forward dance (with hints of Dub), UNDERWORLD took a pop approach to dance music. "Dirty Epic", even at 9:00 and change, is still a pretty traditional pop song. "Cowgirl" is a full on rave-up anthem, (just close your eyes and you can practically see the glow sticks). Other parts of the record seem more Dub and dance oriented but there is still some song structure that was absent in other dance music. I still find myself gravitating to this record when I look for dance music in my collection.
With subsequent releases the band dove into more dance style production (most notably their signature tune "Born Slippy" which was featured in the film Trainspotting) and are said to be releasing a new record this year.
(m4a) Underworld -- Dirty Epic (from DUBNOBASSWITHMYHEADMAN)
(m4a) Underworld -- Cowgirl (from DUBNOBASSWITHMYHEADMAN)