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51. Underworld – Two Months Off

03/11/2009

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Amid the comings and goings of endless dance music trends over the course of the 2000s – mash-up, electroclash, nu-rave, dubstep etc – Underworld’s heads-down, no-nonsense (albeit slightly proggy) techno has become increasingly reliable. Listen to Two Months Off, by far the band’s finest moment of the decade, and maybe second of all time to their career-defining Born Slippy, and it doesn’t really matter what’s been before, or what’s currently en vogue – the track is built of sterner stuff than fashion. As with all the best electronic music, the genius here lies in the intertwining of beats and top line: Rick Smith’s samba-infused rhythms and Karl Hyde’s familiarly deranged jabber dance among each other to create a heavyweight boxer of a tune, broad and intimidatingly muscular but simultaneously light enough on its feet to pull off two false endings and to support the coquettish snatch of speech that runs in and out of the track. Propulsive and quickening, Two Months Off should really be no more than a nostalgia piece, but among the dance music diaspora of the noughties, this provides a welcomingly brilliant throb.

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