25. Shudder/King of Snake – Underworld (1999, Junior Boys Own, Taken from ‘Beaucoup Fish’)
How are we all with snakes? I know a few people who can’t even look at a picture of a snake without shrieking and hiding their eyes. I remember a young lad at work showing people his holiday snaps of his time in Thailand and a woman literally yelling in horror as a picture of him with a massive snake around his neck appeared.
At a village fayre a few years ago there was a reptile show and I whilst I was sitting down and minding my own business, the owner of the reptiles stuck about four or five baby snakes shoved around my neck, like some sort of reptilian necklace. I mean obviously they were all harmless but it still made me freeze, scared to move in case one bit me or swallowed me whole and then the whole lot went on to take over the world. They were cold and I can still remember them lightly constricting around my neck and shoulders. I wasn’t really comfortable but then I looked across at my daughter, who thought it was the funniest thing ever, but she also had a look of pride in her eyes.
Anyway…Enough reptile fun…Let’s talk about ‘King of Snake’ the second single from Underworlds third long player ‘Beaucoup Fish’- which is as it happens, much more fun that having baby snakes thrown around your neck by a crap Terry Nutkins wannabe (ask your grandparents, kids).
In ‘King of Snake’, Underworld basically take a stolen bass loop (from ‘I Feel Love’ as it happens), force feeds it some incredibly strong drugs and then record what happens – the result predictably is utter bedlam. It is a shrieking snarling beast of a record. The vocals are as you expect from Underworld, random words cobbled together, “Game Boy!”, “Tom and Jerry!” and various other things. Its superb.
There are a plethora of mixes of King of Snake’ out there, none are quite as good as the original but to save you the hassle I’ve picked two out – the first is the Dave Clarke Mix which will appeal to those of you who ‘love a filter’.
The second one is the techno tastic Slam Mix – who, to bring this piece full circle, must be scared of snakes because their version knocks seven shades out of the original before running off an hiding as the original comes blaring back into view. Astonishing.
Beaucoup Fish is, by far, my favourite release from Underworld. I won’t ever be able to listen to this track again without picturing in my head the fact you were brave/dumb enough to let the snake charmer reel you in. And cheers for the remixes.