Beaucoup Fish

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Beaucoup Fish
Studio album by Underworld
Released 1 March 1999
Recorded 1997–1998 at Lemonworld Studios in London
Genre Techno, progressive house, progressive trance, breakbeat, industrial, ambient
Length 74:21
Label Junior Boy's Own
Producer Underworld
Underworld chronology
Second Toughest in the Infants
Beaucoup Fish
Everything, Everything
Singles from Beaucoup Fish
  1. "Moaner"
    Released: 21 July 1997
  2. "Push Upstairs"
    Released: 15 March 1999
  3. "Jumbo"
    Released: 24 May 1999
  4. "King of Snake"
    Released: 16 August 1999
  5. "Bruce Lee"
    Released: 15 November 1999
  6. "Beaucoup Fish Singles"
    Released: 7 December 1999
Alternative cover
Vinyl edition

Beaucoup Fish is the fifth album by Underworld, released in 1999. Following the huge success of the single "Born Slippy .NUXX" from its use in the film Trainspotting, Beaucoup Fish was Underworld's most anticipated release. It spawned several successful singles, including "Push Upstairs", "Jumbo" and "Moaner", which was previously used in the film Batman & Robin.

It is the last studio album to feature Darren Emerson who departed in 2001 and third album by the techno/house orientated version of Underworld which became active in about 1991/1992 (tracks were being released around this time under the names Lemon Interupt and Underworld).

The album's working title was Tonight Matthew, I'm Going to be Underworld, inspired by the famous catchphrase "Tonight [host name], I'm going to be...", used on the British celebrity impersonation TV programme Stars in Their Eyes.[1] The title was changed to Beaucoup Fish ("beaucoup" being French for "much"), on the basis that the tongue-in-cheek title would be incomprehensible to listeners outside of the United Kingdom. The current title comes from a sampled voice used in "Jumbo".


Beaucoup Fish was released after the massively successful single "Born Slippy .NUXX"; a single that began to define Underworld's signature sound of stream of consciousness lyrics, anthemic melodies and abrasive beats and rhythms. Lead single "Push Upstairs", with its aggressive piano melody, exemplified this new sound. Much of the album featured experimentation not heard on previous albums: several tracks incorporated samples of dialogue recorded by the band itself, while the progressive aspect of previous albums was mostly slashed in favour of shorter, tighter arrangements.

"King of Snake" features a tape-edited guitar intro titled "Shudder", leading into a lively house track that interpolates the bassline from Donna Summer's disco hit "I Feel Love", before fading into sampled dialogue about the blood sport of snake baiting. "Skym" is a minimal ballad, inspired by This Mortal Coil and featuring little more than a solo keyboard and light piano chords over Karl Hyde's vocals, while "Bruce Lee" has more akin to rock music than trance. Beaucoup Fish also features a downtempo re-imagining of "Push Upstairs", cleverly titled "Push Downstairs"; only the vocal track is kept between the two. "Moaner", a song featured in the film Batman & Robin, is presented on Beaucoup Fish with its final three minutes removed by a fade out.

"Push Upstairs" and second single "Jumbo" were both hits on the dance charts and in clubs. Beaucoup Fish was well-received critically (one review calling it "electronica's The Dark Side of the Moon") and remains Underworld's most successful album, with over one million copies sold.


The art for Beaucoup Fish was once again designed by Tomato, the art firm that Underworld is a part of. Each page of the liner notes featured a stylized shape in a large blue field. The shapes used are a circle for CD; a square for vinyl; and an elongated rectangle for MiniDisc and cassette formats.

Due to delays, the packaging incorrectly lists 1998 as the release year.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 79/100[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly A[4]
E! Online A−[5]
Mixmag 5/5 stars[6]
Pitchfork Media 6.8/10[7]
Spin 7/10[8]
Q 3/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[10]
NME 8/10[11]
Release Magazine 8/10[12]
The A.V. Club favourable[13]
The Village Voice very favourable[14]

Beaucoup Fish was well received by music critics and it continues to be Underworld's best selling album to date. It has a score of 79/100 on Metacritic based on 20 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[2]

John Bush from AllMusic gave the album 4 out of 5 stars saying "the trio is still the best at welding obtuse songcraft onto an uncompromising techno framework and making both sound great".[3]

David Browne from Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A rating stating that Beaucoup Fish "gently tweaks the naysayers by demonstrating how many more places this music can wander, how it can grow and reinvent itself. Albums like this (and Fatboy Slim's kaleidoscopic You've Come a Long Way, Baby) are comparable to Lauryn Hill's recent work in the way they make an overly familiar style of music seem vital again. In its own lush, detached manner, Beaucoup Fish is the rebirth of the cool."[4]

John Wojtowicz from The Village Voice gave it a very favourable review saying it is "A shiny little appliance that fragments its 11 tracks into nearly as many subgenres, doing away with the seamless sprawl of their earlier records".[14]

Rolling Stone gave it 3.5 stars out of 5 saying that "Their specialty is an undulating trance throb that shimmers with shades of rock, contemporary symphonics, dub, disco, house, spoken word, whatever. The result still sounds like Underworld, and the fiftieth play sounds better than the fifth".[15]

NME gave the album 8/10 saying that "Beaucoup Fish is a pure, seamless flow, pinned together with trance-techno beats that hark back to classic Detroit house and early Underworld singles like 'Cowgirl' and 'Spikee'" and also adding that "There are rare moments when even the longest albums feel like they should go on forever: this, emphatically, is one of them".[11]

  • Spin (4/99, pp. 157–158) - 7 (out of 10) - "...the British trio hit on a formula that mixes agression [sic] and gibberish in just the right proportions..."[16]
  • Q (4/99, p. 107) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...Beaucoup Fish finds them continuing down an individualistic path as they pull in strands from electronic influences such as Kraftwerk...Giorgio Moroder...and Yello..."[16]
  • Magnet (4/99, pp. 81–82) - "...Rather than adopt the happy faces of house, the saintly roar of modern minimalist/classical, the bugged-out rhythms of drum 'n' bass or the sloped dope of dub, the first great album of '99 revels in all these styles....[Underworld] seems to be funkin' for nirvana..."[16]
  • Muzik (1/00, p. 69) - Ranked #10 in Muzik's "Albums Of The Year '99"[16]
  • Muzik (1/00, p. 69) - "A brutal, bruising take on the band's unique techno template....the melodies were infectious as ever. Trance tunes, swirling basslines and stupendous piano chuggers..."[16]
  • CMJ (1/10/00, p. 5) - Ranked #14 in CMJ's "Top 30 Editorial Picks [for 1999]."[16]
  • CMJ (4/12/99, p. 3) - "...showcases a more mature, album-oriented Underworld, travelling from over-the-top club maelstroms to ominous, gothic ballads to choppy, experimental rap..."[16]
  • Mojo (1/00, p. 30) - Ranked #18 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999"[16]
  • Mojo (03/99, p. 84) - "...BEAUCOUP FISH proves that the real deal with electronic music is not that it is fast and crazy....but allows for perfect recall of sounds and like Underworld's can have a texture as rich, emotive and individual as memory itself."[16]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Darren Emerson, Karl Hyde, and Rick Smith unless noted.

  1. "Cups" – 11:45
  2. "Push Upstairs" – 4:34
  3. "Jumbo" – 6:57
  4. "Shudder/King of Snake" (Underworld/Bellotte/Moroder/Summer) – 9:30
  5. "Winjer" – 4:30
  6. "Skym" – 4:07
  7. "Bruce Lee" – 4:43
  8. "Kittens" – 7:30
  9. "Push Downstairs" – 6:03
  10. "Something Like a Mama" – 6:37
  11. "Moaner" – 7:38

Limited edition bonus CD[edit]

  1. "Push Upstairs (Roger S. Narcotic Haze Dub)" – 6:37
  2. "Jumbo (Futureshock Worlds Apart Mix)" – 6:31
  3. "King of Snake (Dave Clarke Remix)" – 6:01
  4. "Bruce Lee (The Micronauts Remix)" – 8:54
  5. "Cups (Salt City Orchestra Remix)" – 9:24


Chart (1999) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[17] 7
Belgian Albums Chart[18] 2
Dutch Albums Chart[19] 22
French Albums Chart[20] 34
German Albums Chart[21] 22
Japanese Albums Chart[22] 17
Swedish Albums Chart[23] 22
UK Albums Chart[24] 3
US Billboard 200[25] 93


  1. ^ Archived 11 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b "Beaucoup Fish Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  3. ^ a b Bush, John (1999-04-13). "Beaucoup Fish - Underworld". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  4. ^ a b David Browne (13 April 1999). "Beaucoup Fish Review | Music Reviews and News". Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  5. ^,1107,1225,00.html
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ 4/99, pp.157-158
  9. ^ 4/99, p.107
  10. ^ "Rolling Stone Music | Album Reviews". Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  11. ^ a b "NME Album Review - Beaucoup Fish". Nme.Com. 1999-02-04. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  12. ^
  13. ^,21557/
  14. ^ a b John Wojtowicz (1999-04-20). "Gettin’ Slippy Wit It - Page 1 - Music - New York". Village Voice. Retrieved 2012-01-09.  C1 control character in |title= at position 7 (help)
  15. ^ 4/29/99, p.68
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Underworld - Beaucoup Fish CD Album". 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
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  22. ^ Underworld discography
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