Leftfield: This is What We Do review – mighty, all-embracing workouts and more

Born out of a tumultuous time in Neil Barnes’s life, this heady mix of bangers and righteous sounds is a keeper

Retro-leaning techno acts such as Bicep have prepped the ground propitiously for this fourth Leftfield outing in three decades. It sounds of a piece with its predecessors and yet of the moment: a fresh iteration of an evergreen set of electronic precepts overlaid with a warm filter. Neil Barnes has endured divorce and cancer and retrained as a psychotherapist. Although the “we” of the title is probably intended as embracing and inclusive, it’s worth noting that Leftfield is Barnes and current associate Adam Wren. Paul Daley opted out of their 2010 comeback LP.

The album’s two mightiest bangers are already out: Pulse boasts the kind of bass and 808 combo that gets your rig banned from venues, and Accumulator layers elements on with the skill that comes from ratcheting up the pressure on ravers for 30 years. But there are more workouts here invoking everything from electro to the eeriness of Boards of Canada.

Poet Lemn Sissay was on Leftfield’s 1995 debut. Making a Difference finds him reiterating righteous points about injustice – less a reflection on Sissay than of our inability to haul society forwards. Grian Chatten of Fontaines DC takes up the shouty man role (previously filled by John Lydon and Sleaford Mods) on the perfectly serviceable Full Way Round; more dewy-eyed are the tracks that consciously channel Kraftwerk.

Watch the video for Accumulator by Leftfield.


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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