The music industry is no stranger to collaborations. Pop-punk giants like Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus sing on other pop-punk albums, while female pop singers such as Katy Perry often have a rapper feature on their latest hit. But every once in a while, a collaboration happens that no-one saw coming: take FFS – noughties Brits Franz Ferdinand & 70’s Sparks – for example. Teatime Dub Encounters is such a collaboration. Nineties techno giants Underworld team up with 70’s punk/90’s grunge Iggy Pop for an unexpected EP of four songs.
The opening song “Bells & Circles” is a strange one. It starts, as most songs on this EP do, with a long Underworld-esque techno intro. Iggy Pop then speaks the verses over the continuing techno-beat more than he sings them – reminding me somewhat of the poetical stylings of John Cooper Clarke. The lyrics muse on the strict rules of today’s society: “you can’t do that” is repeated throughout the song. Iggy Pop wishes he had wings so he could do all the things which aren’t allowed anymore, such as “smoking on the aeroplane”. He also makes strange noises, like “Yum, nom, yum yum yum”, for example.
The second song, ‘Trapped‘, continues in the same vein. The fast intro to this song is one of my personal highlights, as it makes me want to bounce up and down. This song deals with the feeling of being trapped in your own life (and a mundane one, at that), as Iggy shouts: “he’s got a mortgage, he’s got a house – oh no!”.
The third song ‘I’ll See Big’ is shorter than the others – which are all at least seven and a half minutes long – but it delves quite deep. The intro is also shorter, the music is softer and the vocals are more mellow. The song narrates Iggy Pop’s struggle to maintain friendships, as he speaks of how ‘demanding’ both he and some of his friends can be. This is a very melodic song, in which the synths and vocals match each other well.
The final song ‘Get Your Shirt‘ is a fitting finale to the EP. The song has extremely catchy instrumentals and Iggy sings more on this song than he does on the others – where he mostly half-speaks the vocals. This song also concludes the topic of (lack of) freedom, as Iggy Pop sings “it’s getting so much harder to be free, it’s getting so much harder to be me”.
This EP is as interesting as the collaboration itself. The first two songs did not really grab me – apart from the intro to “Trapped”. Though I did not care much for it, admittedly the chorus of the opening track remains stuck in my head. The themes of freedom and rules are also interesting to listen to. The latter half of the EP is more enjoyable: the instrumentals are great, and the vocals match them well. Teatime Dub Encounters ends on a high note.