Release Date: Nov 6, 2007
Record label: Hyperdub
Genre(s): Indie, Electronic, Alternative
Where Burial's widely lauded debut evoked a lonely wander through a washed-out, night-time London, the dubstep enigma's follow-up glows a little brighter, finding company in out-of-joint R&B vocals. Over corroded two-step beats, crooning come-ons ("I can't take my eyes off you") loom strange and distorted, like faces materialising out of context in a dream. Swathed in blurry synths and vinyl crackle, Archangel's refrain of "Tell me I belong" is gorgeous in its desperation, while Raver has a kind of ruined euphoria, like a dance anthem dimly remembered a lifetime later.
Burial, the self-titled debut album by an anonymous dubstep producer from London, proved one of the more surprising success stories of 2006. It was voted Album of the Year by the influential experimental-electronic magazine The Wire and was fawned over by a long list of other media, from Mixmag to Pitchfork. Upon the release of Untrue, the second Burial album, the cycle of acclaim appeared likely to repeat itself.
For those not versed in every twist and turn of UK club micro-genres, the ascendancy of Burial’s debut album to the top of end-of-the-year lists in 2006 might have come as a surprise. Upon hearing it, the surprise might have even turned to skepticism, as it did with this reviewer. What exactly was the big deal? The beats were sparse, the melodies sparser, and the much-touted atmospherics felt limpid and, yes, non-existent.