Underworld: "Parc"

from Remixed: The Bells, The Bells (Traffic Inc.; 2008)

By George Bass | 23 July 2008

Don’t judge a book by its cover, and also don’t accidentally try and picture song names as palindromes, because in the case of this unearthed nugget from Rick Smith and Karl Hyde you’d be listening to crap backwards. As it is, their latest package is the spectral opposite of a stink, so it’s somewhat puzzling that they’ve only raffled one country lucky enough to receive it as a physical. Yup, like the Reaper’s last battleship in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, they’ve totally hidden this one in the Js, and from the Google translatable blog extracts lighting up over Tokyo, the reaction is a resounding “Station.” It’s enough to turn fans Japanese with excitement as they gingerly await the import.

“Parc” is a four-minute reminder of what Smith and Hyde can do best: waffle, but with such finesse and eloquence that you realise just how high they fly above grids of synthetic potato. Produced from a live take trialed in Amsterdam three years ago, the track is a bird’s eye view of Hyde’s favourite urban crannies, narrated by the ever-cryptic frontman as he swoops across boroughs, strangely buoyant. Keyboards purr like the first wave of hookers, while Smith’s prescription programming helps ferry his partner’s guitar croons into the small hours. Gone is the man once braying for “lager lager lager,” and in his place are the thoughts recorded by a woozy stowaway as he watches his city slide into happy midnight stupour. The perfect chaser for the downtempo avenues of last year’s Oblivion With Bells album, “Parc” is placed well as the opening gambit for the band’s latest remix EP, and once again reminds you why Underworld are an act it’s never worth giving up on. Those jammy Japanese shape-throwers don’t know just how lucky they are.