Underworld’s Karl Hyde has been in the music business since 1980 and Edgeland is Hyde’s first solo album!
Having fronted Underworld through different genres within the electronic music sphere – before making the big time in the 1990s with techno dance music – it’s refreshing to consider Hyde’s musical approach to his debut solo work.
On Edgeland, Hyde takes his new role as singer-songwriter seriously with a clutch of well-crafted pop-rock songs which exploit his electronic music background to the hilt. The result – memorable melodies, thoughtful lyrics and fresh song arrangements/instrumentations and a worthy addition to the essential listening pile for 2013.
Outstanding tracks include “Angel Cafe” with its ‘found sound’ percussion and heavenly atmospherics; “Your Perfume Was The Best Thing” with its chorus synth hooks and textured harmonies and “Cut Clouds” with its ambient stylings and fragile demeanour. Brilliant.
Look I believe in supporting as many different ‘genres’ as possible, especially within the S-ROCK scene but sometimes one does impose a certain bias upon musical direction and approaches. Take guitarist Matthew Lee for example. His 9-track album is instrumental rock that covers a gamut of diverse styles – hard rock, metal, pop-punk, classical and even sentimental – so there’s no questioning his eclecticism. But some of the tracks – “=D”, “I Remember Happiness” and “Strawberry Vanilla” should really have vocals and not a guitar playing what are essentially vocal lines.
No quibbling with Lee’s technical prowess whatsoever but there’s no getting over the nagging feeling that some of these tracks would be better served with vocals. Check out Strawberry Vanilla and see if you agree…