While the most remarkable thing about Underworld nowadays is their longevity rather than anything the pair commit to disc, there’s no doubting their superlative talents within studio confines. ‘Beautiful Burnout’ tosses the listener no surprises – unless they’ve never before experienced the group, which is surely unlikely – but retains the trademark glossiness and compositional class that’s informed Underworld’s work since their attention-grabbing debut (Mk II) album, Dubnobasswithmyheadman.
A song of stages, each linked by Karl Hyde’s low-mixed vocal monotony, ‘Beautiful Burnout’ never grinds its way through to fifth gear, but meanders in a fashion that’s hard to hate on. It’s precisely what the initiated will expect: build-ups to breakdowns telegraphed ahead of schedule, incessancy reined when necessary and allowed a loose collar whenever the tempo drops too low. It’s by the book: some, therefore, will deem this brilliant; others simply standard. Me? I’m splitting that difference and digging out Beaucoup Fish.
7Mike Diver's Score