With the buzz almost completely died down from "Born Slippy," Underworld's Trainspotting hit of over two years before, Beaucoup Fish emerged to a distinctly uncaring public. And though it is a disappointing record compared to the group's high-flying previous albums, it displays Underworld's talents well -- the trio is still the best at welding obtuse songcraft onto an uncompromising techno framework and making both sound great. Karl Hyde's nasally vocals are a bit more obtrusive on tracks like the trance-rant "Moaner" and first single "Push Upstairs," but as before, impeccable production saves the day. While Second Toughest in the Infants showed Underworld were no mere novices at introducing super-tough breakbeats, here the focus is on throwback acid-house and trance. The effect is that Underworld have refused to compromise their artistic vision to anyone's view of commercialism; as such, the few excesses on Beaucoup Fish can be forgiven.
The Indiana quartet Stranger Lazy is sometimes sounds like 1990s Chicago art rockers Shrimp Boat and the seminal indie band Pavement in its studied amateurism, but there's a keen songwriting sensibility lurking beneath the surface of songs like the shambling "And I Punched It" and the appealing math-rock of "3..
4..5..," while the fragile, beautiful "Astros" displays the band's growing musical confidence.