ALBUM: Underworld ‘Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future’


The first proper Underworld album in almost five years is surprisingly emotional lyrically, considering the fact that when when hearing their name you usually go back to 1996 in your head and start aimlessly chanting “LAGER, LAGER, LAGER”.

The opening track, ‘I Exhale’, is a two-note synth pop driven dance beat with a glam rock air lingering in its explosive chorus, that continues to chug along with a Talking Heads-like feel. ‘Low Burn’ reminisces in the vast soundscape of 1994’s seminal dubnobasswithmyheadman. A liberating dancefloor anthem wherever you may be; be it walking down the street, in the kitchen or on the dancefloor.

‘Motorhome’ could only be seen as an optimistic track in the dark world of Underworld. A swirling fusion of stripped back psychedelica and simple, childlike EDM drum beats. It is by far the most melodic vocal on the record, which really makes for a great listening experience. It’s something that you can really lose yourself in, as the layers build over a surprisingly uplifting six minutes.

The remainder of the album continues to be beautifully uplifting and hypnotically reels us into the stammers of dance electronica, with its alluring spiral of sounds on the closing track, ‘Nylon Strung’.

It may be stripped back, slowed down and seriously lacking the “lad culture” vibe, but it is undoubtedly some of the strongest tracks released by the duo in years. Underworld are not looking to reinvent themselves on this album, they’re simply striving to remain as iconic as ever.

Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future is out now via Smith Hyde Productions.

Abbi Parcell