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Underworld - Barking (2010) Retail CD
Wow! I just finsihed listening to 'Barking' and I must say I'm so happy. As a long term Underworld fan, I have been dying for a good album from them for nearly 8 years, since Hyde and Smith released 'A Hundred Days Off'. Since then they released an unnecessary Greatest Hits compilation, a disappointingly ambient soundtrack ('Breaking and Entering'), a host of sub-par rare material under the 'River-Run' project name and a totally mediocre comback album ('Oblivion With Bells'). In 'Barking', I feel that Underworld have finally come back strong and released an album full of top quality material.more…
The album starts off a tiny bit slow with the all-too-familiar track 'Bird 1', and at this point I feared the album might not amount to too much. However, soon enough I'm treated to the sounds of the epic single 'Scribble', which is an incredible, lush, synth-heavy drum and bass track. This song was a key factor in promoting the album too as it truly signalled their desire to branch out more into different genres. This attitude is evident as the album plays through as there are several tracks with a very club based feel to them including 'Between Stars' and 'Diamond Jigsaw', both of which are excellent. As usual, there are also a couple of light, airy, ambient numbers towards the end called 'Louisiana' and 'Simple Peal' (Hidden Track) which round the album off nicely. There is even a lovely little chilled out number named 'Moon In Water', overflowing with typically random Underworld samples.
I got to the end and I just had to listen to it again, straight away. There are very few electronic/dance albums these days which make me do that. In fact, the album is even more brilliant due to the recent abundance of truly disappointing albums from other renowned dance/electronic artists, including BT, Unkle, The Prodigy (Yes, 'Invaders Must Die'), Chicane and even The Chemical Brothers.
Some Underworld fans might question the clubby feel to the album, but it works perfectly for me. Their previous album ('Oblivion With Bells') was more comparable to their older material, but aside from a few tracks like 'Beautiful Burnout', 'Heal and Restore' and 'Best Magmu Ever' it got old very quickly and left me thinking 'Is that it Underworld? Is that the big come back?'. Even though they are still kicking ass in their tours, they really needed a strong album, and they've delivered with this one.
As a fan, I even feel quite confident in stating that this is their best album to date and I'll explain why. It has a stand out track in 'Scribble' which is easily as good as classics like 'Born Slippy', 'Pearl's Girl' and '2 Months Off'. However, unlike other albums there really are no weak tracks (with the possible exception of 'Hamburg Hotel') making it a very strong and consistent listen. Traditionally, a lot of Underworld's best material has popped up in soundtracks, EPs and as B sides and not necessarily on the albums themselves, however on this occasions their B-side material is available simply by buying the collector's edition of the album. The collaborations worked a lot better than I thought they would do and helped to strengthen the album in terms of it's diversity. Even the artwork is lovely and colourful, reflecting the mood of the album very well.
In conclusion, Underworld fans should be delighted with this album. Non-fans will probably like this it as well, certainly a lot more than some of their older albums. If you want to try a few tracks before you buy then you can't go too far wrong listening to 'Scribble', 'Diamond Jigsaw' and 'Moon In Water'. Happy listening!
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- Underworld - Barking (2010) Retail CD
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- 16/09/10 by pontiacc
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