Underworld – Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future (Caroline International, 2016)
From its thumping opening track “I Exhale,” Underworld’s Karl Hyde and Rick Smith provide a boisterous and reassuring hug; Barbara Barbara is their first album in six years, though you wouldn’t know it. With Hyde’s signature jargon populating much of the album’s seven tracks, the group pick up right where they left off before slowly drifting towards a more ambient pop direction. Though “If Rah” provides an unwelcome detour, its synths feeling overly synthetic and dull, it’s thrilling to see these progressive house titans making music brimming with genuine love this far into their career. “Low Burn” is a pulsating ride of affection and sensuality, galloping ahead rhythmically with no clear end in sight, while the uplifting closer “Nylon Strung” is simply breathtaking. In one fell swoop, Underworld reassert their place in the electronic world.
Trial Track: “Low Burn”