Wednesday 26 January 2011

A Disappointment? Not To Me

A couple of weeks ago in a piece on the Plaid remixes of the first UNKLE ep, Ctel over at Acid Ted commented that the first UNKLE album, Psyence Fiction was dull and SwissAdam commented that he thought the album a disappointment. These are comments that I have read quite a bit over the years and remember a couple of lacklustre reviews at the time of the release.

I on the other hand never found the album to be a let down at the time and having listened to it recently will freely admit that it isn't the greatest album in the world but I think that it still holds it's own.

One of the main reasons that I didn't have high expectations for the album was that at this time and even now  without the notable exception of a handful of artists and maybe a couple of dozen albums at the most, the LP is not the format in which dance music excels in my view. Over the space of a whole album even the Chemical Brothers and Underworld fail to hold my attention and I get bored. So when I first played the album there were sufficient changes in tempo and style to keep me listening. Okay there are bits of it that are less than brilliant and maybe it is a bit too eclectic at times but what else should be expected with so many collaborators in the mix.

Another reason why my expectations weren't stellar for this album was that up until this point the UNKLE singles weren't that brilliant, they certainly weren't the best output on Mo Wax. For me their remixes and DJ sets out shone their own work.

So I think that when I first listened to it I took it on it's own merit and was not let down with the result, don't get me wrong I wasn't proclaiming it the best album of 1998 either. But as albums in this genre go it is not too shabby.

I think that this Psyence Fiction is a necessary step where Lavelle honed his production and collaborative skills which would lead to further great albums such as Never, Never Land and War Stories.

UNKLE - Lonely Soul


Swiss Adam said...

Good post Drew. Having said what I said, this track was one of the good 'uns and still sounds good now. Ian Brown's Be There too, although I don't think that was on the original release was it? Just an instrumental version.

Webbie - FootieAndMusic said...

Rabbit In The Headlights was obviously the stand out. The rest... I have to admit I can't remember now. Have to dig out the CD again.

Unknown said...

I'm with Webbie.....

Not that I own all that many CD albums of this 'genre', I do enjoy Chem Bros 'Surrender' all the way through

swiss adam said...

I'd forgotten about Rabbit in the Headlights.

Anonymous said...

A great album, I always look upon it as a DJ Shadow album with Lavelle on 'vibes'. I haven't enjoyed anything quite so much by Unkle since.

I remember that the HMV on Oxford St was open at midnight on the Sunday night/Monday morning for a DJ set by Shadow and Lavelle (I think Shadow was there, things were a bit er, hazy, back then) playing back the album in a turntablist style.

Might just have to dig the album out after reading this, it's been a while.



howdoesthatonegoagain said...

I think you're right Drew - a good album but not fantastic. I always thought Lavelle was a monied chancer, though he did put out some great stuff on Mo Wax - Attica Blues were brilliant and sadly much underrated.

As with Webbie and JC it's Rabbint in Your Headlights that wins for me!