Album Review: Underworld – Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future

When you’ve been successfully making music together for as long as Rick Smith and Karl Hyde have, the creative process needs to evolve. Any new music inevitably has an expectation placed upon it, and in such a long-standing partnership, there is a need to keep things fresh. In a Brian Eno ‘Oblique Strategies’ kind of approach, they wrote and recorded every day for a month, starting a brand new track every morning, ignoring everything they had recorded the previous day. What emerged was around 30 fresh, unique and exciting pieces of music which they then developed into this, their new album. It’s a mature take on their earlier work, and it really works. What could have been a re-treading of familiar ground has taken a new direction whilst still sounding like the music Underworld fans want to hear. This is quite irresistible at times, and even though you would be forgiven for thinking Underworld has had their day, the truth is far from it. They still have something to say, and as you might expect, they say it with their inimitable dance-based style. This is Underworld Reborn, Underworld 2.0 if you like, but more than anything it is Underworld for 2016.
MP 8/10

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