on 17 September 2002
With the departure of Darren Emerson I was a little unsure if AHundredDaysOff would be as fantastical as their other albums. I need not worry and I found that this was perhaps as good, if not better. It would be so easy to compare it to Beucoup Fish, with it's thumping tracks sush as TwoMonthsOff that just wanna make you get up and move your body. However, in a way i found it to be a combination of all their albums put together. Maybe thats just me. It's a must buy for any Underwolrd fan and anyone who loves upbeat melodic tunes that shows how trance and techno should be done. A great album done by the masters.
on 13 June 2015
In 2002 Underworld were riding pretty high with a string of solid albums to their name. It had been 4 years since Beaucoup Le Fish, so there was eager anticipation around the new album. First impression of A Hundred Days Off: a visually striking cover and great title – 2 ticks. It got even better. For the most part A Hundred Days Off is an edgy, slightly dark album, but that’s exactly what Underworld are about. Karl Hyde employs his trademark repetition of a line or single word to full effect. The album’s crammed with original ideas and Rick Smith hits genius level with his incredible electronic arrangements.
Two Months Off is clearly the stand out track. Gorgeous arrangements, the anticipation as it builds up to the chorus, the superb bored girl vocals and synth church bells thrown in. When this track gets into your bloodstream it’ll stay there for life – utterly brilliant. Twist beautifully builds up layers of sound; another Underworld trademark and a showcase for Rick Smith. On Sola Sistim you can feel the pain in KH’s vocal. The heavy drum sound and swaying synths are equally impressive. Little Speaker is a more playful with bored girl taking the lead. RS weaves a range of sounds, which are addictive, mesmeric - even jazzy. Dinosaur Adventure is a pulsating track, echoes of Beaucoup Le Fish. Luetin is the perfect final track. Like Marvin Gaye’s closing track on What’s Going On, its’ power and impact are undeniable.
I played this album to a few people who hadn’t heard music like this before and it’s no exaggeration to say they were blown away. I don’t think A Hundred Days off has received the level of critical acclaim it deserves. It’s undoubtedly Underworld’s finest album ranking alongside Kid A, Melody AM and other stand out recordings from the early noughties.
on 12 September 2002
It really must have been hard to try and top the heady heights of beaucoup fish and this album proves this. The opening track to this album "Mo Move" suggests great things to come, its a stomper of a tech-house track that has awesome fills and drum breaks. However, as the album progresses sadly we slowly decend into chilled underworld mode which i feel has never been their strong side. Having said that i feel that underworld have one of their greatest chilled moments to date on this album in tne form of "little speaker", this might have something to do with the fact that it sounds so similar to "jumbo" from beaucoup fish. Despite the similarities to beaucoup fish throughout its a more similar recording to "second toughest" in structure.
It just seems that underworld have become good at sounding like themselves and the departure of Darren Emerson has had a slight but noticable effect on their sound. This effect is proved to be awesome at times on a hundred days off, but also makes the album sound laboured at times. But this is by no means a weak album its just.......... an underworld album.
PS "dinosaur adventure 3D" rocks!!
on 3 July 2002
With this new CD, Underworld follows in some kind of way the Beaucoup Fish story: Melodic songs, some techno-hard, other slow, but dancable. The main difference is the more housy sound. (Allthgough Darren is no longer with Underworld, the music became more his kind of pie !)
As we know Underworld, they provide us with music full off sounds and layers, without giving too much away.
I mostly loved to more housy-tunes as Little Speaker and No Move, and a specially the nice female voices they use now (Allthough Karl is on almost all the songs, don't be afraid :o)
After the rather disappointing 'Beaucoup Fish' this album was always going to be the test for Underworld, especially after Darren Emerson left too. Were they up to it anymore? The answer is yes, but sadly this album is not up there with the high standard of either 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman' or 'Second Toughest in the Infants'.
However it is a good, solid album and that was what was needed from Underworld at this point in time, to re-assert their standard and name on the scene they did so much to re-invent and evolve.
The usual formula is here, from the slow, more mellow tracks to the typical pounding techno tracks. 'Two Months Off' is a wonderful song, full of shimmering electronics and tinkling melodies. 'Sola Sistim' has an 80's feel to it with its synth washes and motifs. 'Ess Gee' is a beautiful, soft ambient track with lovely guitar. This is one of the type songs which Underworld get so little credit for, and they usually are their best, like "Tongue" on 'Dubnobass....' and "Blueski" and "Stagger" on 'Second Toughest....'.
'Ballet Lane' contains more lovely synth motifs and soft atmospheric washes to a solid beat and last but not least 'Luetin' is a fantastic song to end the album with. It's got a really great bassline which sticks in your head for ages and you'll be humming the tune for ages. It's tough, yet melodic and shows that Underworld have lost none of their techno knowledge since Emerson's departure. Actually most real Underworld fans will acknowledge the quiet man of the group, Rick Smith, as the real driving force and brains behind Underworld's sound and style, and this album proves this.
There are bad points to the album. The awful 'Dinosaur 3D Adventure' needs to be avoided and one or two of the other tracks show little invention or imagination, but on the whole this is a good album and a real treat for Underworld fans.
on 2 October 2002
Compared to 99% of 'dance' music this CD might rate a 4.5 or a 5 However for me, Underworld, like so many other groups, set themselves too high a standard with their debut. 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman' is a classic 5-star album regardless of musical category. Unfortunately, there's nothing in '100 days off' to compare with 'Dark and long' and 'Cowgirl', nor even tracks from their other releases such as 'Pearl's Girl', 'Juanita' and 'Jumbo'. That said, this CD is nowhere near as disappointing as the last efforts from Orbital and the Chemical Brothers. 'Beaucoup Fish' certainly became a grower with me over several plays and so might '100 days off', but there's nothing here that really blows your mind. Still, it walks all over the competition and is at least highly distinctive which is much more than can be said for the derivative and indistinguishable rubbish that is most current dance music.
on 16 September 2002
I approached this release with some trepidation after the rather disappointing "Beaucoup Fish", but was pleasantly surprised to find Underworld back on form with an outstanding follow up. The loss of Darren Emerson is notable but most certainly not in a negative way. The album has a more uplifting house vibe to it, evident from the first single "Two Months Off" and the future single "Dinosaur Adventure 3D", and tracks like "SolaStim" see a welcome back to the bands more chilled out style of earlier releases. Anyone who, like myself, was not overly impressed by "Beacoup Fish" but loved "Dubnobass..." and "Second toughest..." will welcome this masterpiece with open arms.
on 6 September 2002
Underworld have always had their own distinctive sound and Hundred Days Off is a further progression. Two Months Off, the first single, is certainly one of the highlights. Like Beaucoup Fish, though, this has all the superior tracks towards the beginning. And, thankfully, no Born Slippy tracks in sight.
The vocals are as usual abstract and, well, annoying. It distracts from the main body and soul of the tracks (is this to appease people who think instrumental music isn't really 'music'??). Also, the layout and beats of the tracks seem more mimalistic than any of the predecessors.
Overall, Hundred Days Off will not shine out of your collection like Second Toughest, nor will it disappoint. It is Underworld after all.
on 2 October 2002
This is pure Underworld from start to finish. Instantly recognisable by their style, subtle vocals, irresistable basslines, tasty melodies, insane modulation and monstrous beats, 'Hundred Days Off' is superb stuff. Every track has something to offer, my favourites at present are the opening "Mo Move" and the storming techno feast "Dinosaur Adventure 3D". There's also a few sublime chilled out tracks on here. Do not be mislead by the upbeat, mainstream feel of the debut single from the album. Here we have a collection of quite dark and powerful techno tracks. Just like the other Underworld cd's, I love it.
on 23 September 2002
To all those familiar with the fate of Orbital's last album (The Altogether) it may be interesting to hear that I think A HUNDRED DAYS OFF will end up in the same boat.
My opinion matters very little here, and I think that five stars will already hint on the fact that I'm loving this album a lot. Yet just as many people will be dissapointed in Underworld's newest as there were with Orbital's latest.
And here's why... The bands we used to listen to back in the day are changing and evolving, yet there is still the nostalgic nature of the overall sound which reminds us of the golden years of Cowgirl and Mmm, Skyscraper I love you. Now, though, we're recieveing the new album and from what I understand the fan base is divided between the ones that want dubnobass no. 2 or beacoup fish no. 2. I personally think that second toughest was the pinnacle of their career, and I don't want them to do anything derivative. The sound of this one is fresh, yet it's fresh UNDERWORLD. There are lots of very underworldly sounds, and some melodies sound like quotes of their previous songs (two months off sounds like that other song they did (we all know which one)) and yet it's a bit different.
Thus, I have to say that if you're looking for a rehash of the older Underworld tracks you might want to try elsewhere (like EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING) but if you consider yourself open-mided enough and ready for the plunge into the new and unheard, go right ahead with A HUNDRED DAYS OFF and you will not be dissapointed. The general rule of thumb of mine would be "if you hated Orbital's Middle Of Nowhere or The ALtogether albums, as well as the Chem Bros' Surrender and Come With Us, you will hate A Hundred Days Off."
But regardless of that, Dinosaur Adventure 3D still kicks it.