Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman (Deluxe Edition) – (Universal)

Twenty years ago, Underworld were making themselves known to the more general public with this, their third album. Doesn’t that make you feel old? In another way though it’s very reassuring, because Karl Hyde and Rick Smith are still right at the top of their game, thrilling their fans either with new music or with the quality of their live performances. Hyde, of course, is spreading his wings through soundtracks and collaborations with Brian Eno, but this is where it really all began, the first album with Darren Emerson in the fold. These tracks still sound as good as they ever have, and are boosted by remastering by Rick Smith at Abbey Road – so ‘Cowgirl’, ‘Dirty Epic’, ‘Mmm Skyscraper I Love You’ – all are just as fresh and vital as 20 years ago. A second disc, with ‘Rez’ and ‘Dark & Long (Dark Train)’, is very tempting, as it also includes three demos from the album sessions – ‘Birdstar’ being especially excellent – and ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Dirty’, two singles released under the previous Underworld name of ‘Lemon Interrupt’. If you’re feeling really flush you can go for a 5CD edition, with live jams and memorabilia – which is oddly tempting, given this is one of the best dance albums of the last 20 years. Not all ‘Deluxe editions’ are worth the trouble, but this one definitely is!

5 out of 5

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood