Daily Dose: ‘If Rah’ by Underworld

Like many British people of a certain age, I’ll always have ‘Born Slippy’ as the flashpoint that seared a soft spot for underworld into my grim heart, so I’ve been keeping an eye on their most recent resurgence, in the form of the lengthily titled album Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future (18th March, 2016). This is the second track on the album, and I can honestly say it may well be the best track they’ve ever done. Both the radio edit and the album version are fantastically odd electronic explorations into how to build a song up from bare bones, Sleaford Mods-esque rant plus beat beginnings, into a spiralling, glistening crescendo of. I prefer the extended version just because it has more time to build and ripple into. I’ve seen a few people comparing it to LCD Soundsystem, but frankly that may even be doing it disservice, it’s not quite got the emphasis on percussion and modernity that LCDSS became known for, instead focusing on being as alien and quirky sounding as possible through the medium of the truly brilliant lyrics and fabulous, unabashedly dance-focused synthesisers. Underworld and the UK have been doing this long before James Murphy came along, thank you very much. I think it’s superb, and it manages to combine mystery and rawness with a banging club production in a manner that very few people could. The result is potent, powerful, and confusing: as the song says, “What’s that about”?

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