Review Summary: Another album for a lonely subway ride.
It's strange to think that it has only been a year since Burial (who I will assume is a male) released his eponymous full length. Since then, everyone from in-the-know dubstep connoisseurs to casual electronic fans have discovered the album and generated enough hype to match any weak, pseudo-cryptic advertising campaign. In just sixteen months, Burial have become a 'household name' in the UK dubstep/garage scene; his almost too perfect
combination of stuttering two-step beats, warped vocal samples, and nighttime ambience transcended most limitations set by the genre.
With the release of the Ghost Hardware EP
earlier this year, it seemed as if Burial was taking his music in a slightly different direction, adding emphasis on the atmospheric aspects of music more so than on rhythm. The use of vocals was more abundant and seemingly less altered; the songs almost felt more organic than on previous releases. Now we have Untrue
, an album which many people, including myself, have been anticipating since first hearing Burial
In man ways, Untrue
follows in the same vain as Burial's past works. There are plenty of off-kilter beats to be heard, which flawlessly coalesce with a plethora of keyboard pads, ever-deepening bass hits and ghostly, soulful vocals. "Ghost Hardware," one of the early standouts, incorporates one of the more memorable rhythmic patterns on the disc into a musical dream sequence. This formula is repeated effectively on "Untrue," where Burial adds some vocal diversity into the mix with both male and female singers. Many of the vox tracks on Untrue
possess an almost R&B feel to them - that is, if apparitions could sing the blues.
One of the most notable changes here, though, is the addition of more traditional ambient passages. Songs such as "Endorphin" and "In McDonalds" provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of dubstep. These moody pieces seem to reflect the sparse moments of quiet within an endless metropolis, implied feelings of twilight isolation which are not uncommon in Burial's music.
ends on a completely different note with "Raver," where straightforward dance music takes the place of the normal dubstep fare, remaining true to the name. Does this signify a possible new direction in Burial's sound, or is it just another brief experiment to keep fans wanting more? Whatever the answer may be, Untrue
is still a worthy follow up to an instant genre classic; an album that despite various flaws, has plenty of variety, fresh ideas and the ingenuity that many of Burial's peers lack.
This is not untrue.