Burial - Untrue

Stas Werno 20/11/2007

Rating: 5/5

Yes, OK, so we're eons behind everyone else on this one, and I'll admit it's my fault. The reason I hesitated so much before giving Untrue a chance is because of something called dubstep. For the uninitiated, dubstep is an offshoot of grime created for the clinically dull, those that find the excitement of British urban dance music a little too pant wetting and needed something they can quite happily fall asleep to without fear of dreams about getting knifed. So when those that kept trying to peddle me the same sand man summoning track under different names time and time again started going on about Burial's new album, I naturally turned a blind eye, assuming it would sound exactly the same as everything else I'd heard plucked from the same category.

But then I noticed something a bit odd - the fan base seemed to spread, electronica geeks were comparing it to Boards of Canada, then you started hear kids talking about it outside trendy second hand clothes shops, and before you knew it, it was jammed between Spice Girls greatest hits and the Dirty Dancing OST on the ITunes front page. I thought: Bollocks. Maybe I've missed a trick here. It took only a few hours from that moment to realised that was the greatest understatement of 2007.

Comparisons with dubstep can be made, but you'd be doing the album a great injustice, as it is something far, far more. It's the sound of a city at night: the neon red tails of cars, glistening dark wet pavements, tall roadside lights flickering above you, metropolitan bustle given a new meaning by replacing the loud, frantic soundtrack of our lives with something much eerier and calmer, but just as mechanical, and just as fitting. The influences dubstep cites are far too limited to completely describe the sound of Untrue. Whilst there's reminders that it's from the same place - lo-fi 2-step beats, the dubby clicks and zips of lighters, bellyache rumbling bass - the album traverses much wider ground. Some of the otherworldly, messed up vocals wouldn't go amiss on Music Has The Right To Children, the complex bounce of the music would feel comfortable side by side with some of Audion's darker tracks, and the string pads are the most beautifully lush sounds created since the likes of Barber and Debussy started perfecting aural landscapes. Nothing more needs to be said, album of the year.