Underworld & Iggy Pop: Teatime Dub Encounters review – enormo beats taking the world to task

(Caroline International)

When Rick Smith from 90s Born Slippy techno giants Underworld first met up with the 71-year-old Iggy Pop for tea at the Savoy, he realised he had “one chance to convince this gentleman that we should work together”. Thus, Smith turned up with what the former Stooge called “a whole bloody studio set up in a hotel room” – an offer Pop couldn’t refuse. Thus, 22 years after they both appeared on the Trainspotting film soundtrack, this unlikely four-track collaboration finds Smith’s daughter Esme providing sublime backing vocals and channels Pop’s formidable wordsmith talents into spontaneous, narrative freestyles.

Percussive/synth opener Bells & Circles begins as a reflection on the erosion of personal freedoms (“I remember smoking on the aeroplane”), veers into a comical/moral aside about how snorting cocaine on a jet once meant he got too stoned to hook up with the stewardess, and delivers the punchline like a haymaker: “It’s over for the liberal democracies. Here comes the jungle.” Trapped is a Suicide/B-52s type electro-rocker about the fear of ageing (“No drug, no drink can help me no more”), and is somehow dark, but fun, before I’ll See Big again changes gear, for an electronic rumination on mistakes and friendship.

Pop calls the enormo-grooved Get Your Shirt “a good old rock’n’roll moan about ripoffs”, which doesn’t quite capture its dreamlike qualities or subtle discourse on the personal cost of globalisation as both parties hurtle by the seat of their pants into an inspired commentary on our lives and times.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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