[sic] Magazine

Underworld – Barking

Underworld , a great band that, 15 years ago, briefly ruled the world with that Lager Lager song, (Born Slippy) and then consistently failed to crack the charts. Despite being thought of as one-hit wonders, their brief enormity was more the aberration than the norm. In their true lives, Underworld were and are a respectable, healthy band that consistently mined a certain seam of ambitious, silly-named, epic electronic music that had little interest in belonging in the confines of the four minute pop song : ‘Barking’, named after the Essex province they originally hailed from, is the shortest Underworld record in a long time at a relatively scant 53 minutes, yet what it lacks in length it makes up for in quality. Previous albums occasionally carried excess weight, here, Underworld create a bright, vibrant, concise record that adds another worthy chapter.

After 2007’s under-appreciated ‘Oblivion With Bells’, the band have brought in guest producers and additional musicians but I cannot detect any influence they have. Dubfire , Paul Van Dyk , and High Contrast all make cameos but it all sounds like Underworld, old, or new. Starting with the pulsing ‘Bird 1’, the record builds, throbs, and gurns to the ecstatic, and familiar ‘Scribble’ – which, in primitive forms, has been played live for at least 5 years as ‘You Do’ – and keeps going, through twists and turns, and Hyde’s memorably mundane lyrics – especially on standout track ‘Diamond Jigsaw’. Unlike some previous albums, especially the more obscure titles such as the soundtracks and web-only EP’s, ‘Barking’ is, to me, a fine, albeit dated, record that I will be coming back to for years. I rarely say so, but a genuine return to form.



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