If at first you don’t succeed … fail a second time.  Third time’s the charm!

That twist on two hoary old clichés pretty much sums up the long struggle of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, of techno band Underworld.  Sure, you know them now as the “Born Slippy”/Trainspotting soundtrack band, or perhaps the more geeky among you (hand up, me!) knew them as the New Wave-y Underworld that scored a minor MTV hit with “Underneath the Radar” in the late ’80s.  But Hyde and Smith tried for rock stardom years before…

Beginning life in 1981 as a band known as nothing other than a graphic design squiggle (take that, Prince!), the group got signed to CBS Records in the U.K., who demanded a “real” name for the combo.  Dubbing themselves Freur, their first single “Doot-Doot” (download) charted in the upper 50s of the U.K. chart in 1983.  Not quite a smash, but the song got some underground exposure here in the States via the more adventurous New Wave and college radio stations.

Freur tried a few other singles and a second full album (which got only limited European release) before dissolving.  Hyde and Smith regrouped as Underworld, who began life as a more pop-oriented dance/rock act before heading full steam into clubland with later releases.  “Doot-Doot” is interesting, since it reflects a consistent line from Underworld’s humble beginnings to the current day.  The single is a quiet, yet tense affair that presaged the combo’s later explorations in ambient techno.  The Doot-Doot album was released on CD twice, the most recent pressing from 2000 currently fetching $80+ on Amazon.  “Doot-Doot” the song got a new lease on life when it was featured on the soundtrack of the Tom Cruise vehicle “Vanilla Sky.”

“Doot-Doot” did not chart.

Get Freur music at Amazon.