Second Toughest in the Infants
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Top Customer Reviews
"Juanita: Kiteless/To Dream of Love" is a near seventeen minute trip everything that you would ever want to experience from 'techno' music. A perfect opener.
"Banstyle/Sappy's Curry" is a superb piece of drum and bass. The changes in the upbeat, yet subliminal, melody are so subtle, that because of the trance that you're in, you won't notice. 15+ minutes of techno excellence.
Although "Confusion the Waitress" is my least favorite song on the album, it is still very good. There is a nice, steady bassline that follows Hyde's lyrics of "She said..." throughout for six or seven minutes. It isn't all that bad, but I lose interest after about four minutes and I change it. Worth a listen, though.
"Rowla" is one of my favorite songs on the album. It begins as a simple series of electronic noises that sound "eighties-ish." From this beat, it builds like crazy into a trance-like song that will get you moving... you can't hold back. Hands down, this is one of Underworld's all-time best songs.
"Pearls Girl" is my other favorite. Many people have already heard. It starts as a nice blend of atmospheric sounds and after about a minute, a heart-pounding beat emerges and soon after Hyde will sing beautiful nonsense about 'water' and 'Morocco'. It totals about ten minutes and through that amount of time - you never get bored. It's great, really great.
"Air Towel" is really cool as well. A nice catchy electronic melody resonates throughout for eight minutes. Hyde sings again about beautiful nothingness. Another excellent piece of music.Read more ›
Second Toughest trades their zest for pounding anthems with sleek techno rhythms, a perpetual throb coursing throughout the hour; in doing so all their rave-rock elements, too primitive in Dub, too over-baked in Beaucoup, maintain a balance which forms their masterpiece.
They're far more than a straight techno band, of course, drawing in guitars for crucial accentuation while layering long, luxuriant piano melodies (first explored on Dubno but gelling properly here) as exemplified by sixteen minute opener montage "Juanita/Kiteless/To Dream of Love." Front man Karl Hyde's poetic ramblings are present but more focused - surprisingly poignant in moments - perhaps due to the generally melancholy mood that prevails throughout. "Banstyle/Sappys Curry," with acoustic guitar sitting beside long interrupted synth lines, is nothing shot of a revelation in fusing these elements into dance balladry.
Headrush moments are naturally expected from a gang responsible for "Cowgirl" "Born Slippy" and "Push Upstairs." Hence "Rowla" springs up in the middle, furiously twisting fried out synth stabs over and through the rabbit hole. And then there's that monstrous centerpiece "Pearl's Girl," powered by stuttered high speed drums building to Hyde's growling stream of consciousness listings, a chorus of "crazy crazy crazy" running through the peak. Call it example 1A of how to craft an electronic opus.
Beatless "Blueski," a deceptively simple guitar interlude, ultimately leads to the only disappointment of Second Toughest in the Infants.Read more ›
But, that's besides the point. A more chilled-out effort and rhythmic record than Dubnobasswithmyheadman, Second Toughest in the Infants significantly tightens their pop composition ideas and infuses amazing, new emotional range into techno.
In fact, on this record, Underworld has made a very, very powerful argument for techno being the new pop music. Granted, many acts (Moby, Orbital, FSOL) have learned to infuse powerful emotion, other acts (Prodigy, Chemical Bros) showed that, yes, techno can rock. But, I really don't believe any dance act has done a better album about loneliness and the need for love and communication as Underworld. Funneled through a druggy sensibility, the dreamy soundscapes and lyrics evoke that painful desire to communicate and connect while in altered states. Elusive yet moving, it also suggests that we are the same in the "real world", and as you are shaking your hips to the beats, it also puts you into thoughts.
Couple that with some of the most inspired guitar sounds I've heard in years, Second Toughest of the Infants really is an essential a rumination on post-urban blues as stuff from Massive Attack or Tricky.
Based on the first track, the multiphase, morphing cycle "Juanita" alone, this album is worth it, but you also get the otherwordly (Underworldly?) track "Pearl's Girl" and the rest.
This album achieves a fusion of dance, trance, progressive & the ENTIRE time remains strangely, alienly beautiful. It also pulls off the feat of being hypnotic AND energetic at the same time. Most electronic albums seem to be specific to a particular activity or area, i.e. the dance floor, come down/chill out, headphone album. This one manages to be ALL OF THOSE and more.
Underworld's best. Period.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think Second Toughest is my own personal favorite of Underworld's music; good music for driving in really crappy weatherPublished 9 months ago by M. Boger
The first time I listened to this album I fell in love with it. The next 20 or 30 times it felt like it had started to become part of my DNA. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Original-Juice11
Wow, Second Toughest in the Infants still kicks my ass. This was my favorite CD for a year or two. Subtle and bombastic, Bass-heavy but reaching very high, It plays as a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by J. T. OBERGFELL
Underworld is one of a few groups that have consistently produced great albums for over 20 years. The album uses a formula that has worked into the 21 century: start with a great... Read morePublished on September 19, 2013 by Knute Snortum
I still find myself years and over a decade+ listening to this CD over and over. Used to listen to this one on the "L" in Chicago on the way to school, work, home everywhere. Read morePublished on August 16, 2013 by schmuck303
I came to learn of Underworld back in the late 90s through the Playstation videogame Wip3out which had their track "kittens" on it. Read morePublished on November 23, 2012 by Harold Merkin
An excellent disc, but one that is in dire need of a proper remaster to do it justice. The sound quality on this CD (which has been out for more than 15 years) sounds thin, because... Read morePublished on August 23, 2012 by Drew
Better than I expected. Songs are a little shorter but most are awsome. There are several songs that you'll love if your a fan of underworld. good cdPublished on November 27, 2011 by Cheryl V. Zeller
Second Toughest in the Infants being Underworld's 4th studio and 1996 release is an album that met with great reviews. Read morePublished on September 17, 2009 by Bjorn Viberg