Given how acclaimed Leftfield were in their 90s heyday, it might have been easier for Neil Barnes, now solo after splitting with duo partner Paul Daley, to be satisfied with his past glories. But any doubts that Alternative Light Source might not be a worthy follow-up to 1999’s Rhythm and Stealth are quickly dispelled. Opening track Bad Radio draws us in straight away, with catchy loops and an intriguing contribution by Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, building to an ecstatic climax that will more than satisfy long-standing admirers. Last time around, Leftfield’s knob-twiddling anonymity was mitigated by some well-chosen guest vocalists – most memorably John Lydon on 1993’s Open Up. It’s a trick repeated on Alternative Light Source, on which Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods provides a bonkers rant (“Dandruff warriors!”) on Head and Shoulders. There’s shade as well as light, too: Dark Matters is beautiful, its minor-key arpeggios glistening in the twilight.
Jon Dennis is Guardian's multimedia production editor and also writes about music.