Underhill is here, right now, in this moment. Highly contemporary and tapping into the pulsating vein modern life anxiety. Silent Siren is by no means the cure to all our ails, but still offers a refreshing shot of uppers and downers for a music listener dredging in murky waters of musical ambivalence.
Underhill incorporates many key players from very different backgrounds into this intriguing mix of genre defying splendor. The outfit consists of Martina Astner, active in gothic circles, MC Coppa, a big player in the hip-hop/ drum and bass game and Tim Elliot, producer/musician auteur who’s worked with giants like Björk. Dub-step is the skeleton taken out of the closet and various other elements make up for flesh and bone. The wobbly bass lines are present throughout the superbly mixed record.
Everything has its place in the mix and every sound is crystal clear. Everything should be in order then, to create the most astounding electronic record of latest years? Yes and no.
At times this combination of very different backgrounds hit the high note and turns the project into pure gold. Sometimes it merely sounds tired and worn out. With some editing, the record could really be one of the best ones for a long time, but I’m afraid well have to wait and see if the next album is the big one. Underhill struggles with “too much of everything for too long” –syndrome trying to please too wide an audience and provide quantity in form of 17 tracks (including 3 remixes). The record would work better with a more stripped down mentality, with a clear structure plus extremes on separate releases like EP’s or singles.
Underhill navigates through dark and misty soundscapes and works probably just as well in your living room as it would live in clubs and festivals. Silent Siren is quite diverse, ranging from mellow weed smoking soundtracks like “The Miss” to a track with massive hit potential like “Hiding the Light” and on to aggressive bits like “Law Enforcement”, which really stands out from the rest of the material with its industrial feel. “Trippin” has a fresh hip-hop sound to it, but the anti-drug pathos is a bit too much. Astners voice is beautiful and dark, giving the record a gothic feel at times. The vocals feel a bit distant at times, estranging the listener, which is probably intentional.
A good opening from an interesting new band. It will be interesting to see what Underhill will come up with next (and hopefully soon).