See the suits

It's not out until October 16, but you can listen to the new Underworld album, Oblivion With Bells at download.com.

First impressions...Underworld has never been a group to play it safe, and this is no exception. There are sounds in here that are like nothing else in electronica, or music in general, new and completely unexpected sounds, and that, above all, is what I've come to expect from Underworld. Songs like Born Slippy and Two Months Off are as far from formula as you can get, and they shouldn't really work, but yet they do, so very well.

Some of the riskiest bits are when it gets downright dissonant — Karl Hyde, who is by no means tone deaf, kinda sorta sounds it at the beginning of Ring Road and Boy, Boy, Boy. They remind me of the vocals in Stagger, off Second Toughest in the Infants, but dialed up another notch. Like any Underworld album, you have to trust in the journey they take you on. And indeed, Ring Road rights itself artfully — it might be my favorite song on the album. It's an album that moves back and forth from harsh, angry sounds to lush, lovely lines, finally closing with my other candidate for favorite, Best Mamgu Ever, a sprawling, Second Toughest-esque epic with big, slow bass and impeccable little guitar bits.

It's always a little scary listening to the new album of a group you like this much. But it's clear Underworld haven't lost anything OR played it safe. Now I must listen to it again and again and get all the little details I've missed.

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