Underworld: Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future review – dance music pioneers reach a state of bliss

(Caroline International)

While Underworld’s Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have retained what was special about their greatest triumphs – Dubnobasswithmyheadman and Second Toughest in the Infants were two of the most revered dance albums of the 1990s – Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future is never weighed down by its makers’ history. Karl Hyde’s “found” lyrics (using snippets of overheard conversations) are affecting, fractured evocations of the disorientations of modern urban life. Even the album’s title is a real-life utterance, a phrase Hyde’s father said to his mother shortly before he died. Opening track I Exhale has the sleazy ambience of David Bowie’s Lodger, its “blah, blah, blah” motif echoing the “far, far, far, away” refrain of Red Sails. But that and If Rah aside, Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future is dreamy and unabrasive. Gently menacing instrumental Santiago Cuatro has a Middle Eastern feel, while the smooth synthpop texture of the closing track Nylon Strung reaches a state of bliss.

Contributor

Jon Dennis

The GuardianTramp

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