Underworld – Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future
So, in no particular order, I will kick off my top 10 with the clear contender for weird album title of the year. I’ve followed Underworld loyally since getting into them in the mid-90s and, to be honest, some of their efforts along the way have slightly tested that loyalty (I would put the low point at 2007’s Oblivion With Bells). However, BBWFASF, their most concise long player, is basically great from its stomping start (I Exhale) to beatific finish (Nylon Strung). Along the way, every track has something to recommend it (something I could not say with confidence about many of their other releases – even their best). Even second track If Rah, which begins with some very unconvincing middle-aged rapping, develops into something appealing. We also have Motorhome‘s slow-mo homage to Baba O’Riley, the beautiful finger-picked guitar interlude Santiago Cuatro and the one-two punch love bomb of the last two tracks, Ova Nova and the aforementioned outstanding Nylon Strung. When so many long-term favourite artists have disappointed me over the last few years, this was a very welcome reversal of that trend.