If at first you don’t succeed … fail a second time.Â Third time’s the charm!
That twist on two hoary old clichÃ©s pretty much sums up the long struggle of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, of techno band Underworld.Â 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.Â 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.Â Dubbing themselves Freur, their first single “Doot-Doot” (download) charted in the upper 50s of the U.K. chart in 1983.Â 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.Â 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.Â “Doot-Doot” is interesting, since it reflects a consistent line from Underworld’s humble beginnings to the current day.Â The single is a quiet, yet tense affair that presaged the combo’s later explorations in ambient techno.Â The Doot-Doot album was released on CD twice, the most recent pressing from 2000 currently fetching $80+ on Amazon.Â “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.