Burial - Untrue

An album that re-defined the term 'atmospheric', Untrue cemented Burial's reputation as one of Britain's seminal producers. More soulful than its critically acclaimed predecessor, the album was deservedly nominated for the Mercury prize, and went a step further in securing credibility for a genre that was often dismissed as a passing fad. Labelled as dubstep, Untrue was a million miles away from the tinny, tasteless jump-up of the mainstream. Instead each track is perforated by a sub-bass that seems to reverberate within your very soul.

While his self-titled debut made at least some attempt to reach the dancefloor, Burial's second offering is aimed strictly at your headphones, and benefits hugely as a result. It's rare to find an album that is truly unsettling, but Burial manages to evoke a strong sense of the alienation of urban Britain, a sentiment confirmed by track titles such as 'Homeless' and 'In McDonalds'.

Sonically the album is far more than the sum of its parts. While each track is drenched in reverb, this somehow lends the album a sense of cohesion, as beats and disjointed vocal samples float between songs on a sea of synth washes and sub-bass. This is felt most keenly on the defining track of the album, 'Archangel'. Its ingenious use of a distorted r'n'b vocal hook making it sound like the sort of track Timbaland would make if you locked him in a studio and told him his mum had just died.

In interviews the producer admitted to almost defiantly sticking to his relatively primitive editing software, and these analogue origins imbue Burial's beats with an organic feel. The rip-shot echoes of skeletal snares and crumpled bass pads sound like the ghost of 2-step garage clambering up the stairwell of an abandoned tower block. Not since Goldie's Inner City Life had a dance album been released that so perfectly evoked the nihilism of urban despair, and with the benefit of hindsight Untrue can be seen as an album that transcended the narrow confines of dance sub-genres to become a soundtrack to the dystopia of Britain's inner cities. Broken beats for a broken Britain.

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