Burial
Untrue


5.0
classic

Review

by StrangerofSorts STAFF
November 7th, 2017 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A retrospective for Untrue's tenth birthday (a little late)

There is how music is made and there is how it is used. With most immediate music journalism stuck on the former, it is up to youtube comments, rateyourmusic reviews and more private conversations to let us know what an album becomes. Now a decade since Untrue’s release, the importance of the production itself has melted into the cultural phenomenon of Untrue still burning. There is a kind of comfort in thinking about someone, just today, playing this album for the first time and beginning to explore what I might as well call “post-rave” music, or post-rave culture. It means the album is still alive.

The post- of post-rave lies in the fact the rave scene is dead for a great many people, certainly many more than those who still huddle round the candle of a scene that still exists and always threatens to snuff out for good. The mass culture is gone, there is no avoiding this. In its place, increasingly corporatised festivals, dwindling night clubs and shortly doomed micro-scenes recreate something of the former euphoria without the original promise. On the horizon looms the next stage, “real life,” from which all that ecstasy and freedom was a minor distraction.

At the same time, an echo of rave still lingers today. This is the -rave of post-rave, which Mark Fisher picked up on with Burial’s first release: music for the people who grow up into the aftermath of something that is not going to come back but is still somehow present, to walk through puddles of another generation’s memories. In articulating this experience, Burial helped to unite so many individual experiences into a collective consciousness. At first, the all-too-familiar eeriness of his debut, the echo of rave experienced by those who were never a part of it. Then the emotional realisation of collective loss in Untrue, its spectral voices calling out for help, letting later EPs explore the healing process (“Kindred”, “Come Down To Us”, “Young Death”) and some of the ‘what comes next"’ (“Truant”, “Loner”); though not without a few relapses into nostalgic desperation for the long gone (“Temple Sleeper”).

The death of rave is one thing, the common experience of the ‘00s still seeping into the ‘10s is another. Untrue unearths a pulse that goes beyond the demise of UK rave culture. These years have been awful, like a never-ending series of comedowns, and like most comedowns it involves long periods of isolation. Perhaps the most enduring Untrue trope is the lonely walker, hood up, late at night, skirting drunks and shimmering neon puddles. Content matches the headphone experience to articulate a general sense of being cut off, near but alone.

The feeling is strong enough that in many cases listeners hear what they want to. This is somewhat intentional: lead single “Archangel” gets its name from a pitch-shifted and reverbed “holding you.” Elsewhere, “Shell of Light’s” looped outro “God can you please whisper in her ear, I wasn’t sure if we could be friends” can morph to the more despairing “God can you please hurry and find me…”

Untrue would not have been so successful if it merely articulated these experiences. It also added to them, turning otherwise desperate night bus rides into deeply meaningful moments. I do not think the small thread of religious references is meaningless (Archangel, God can you please...). A spirituality is at work here, a kind of transcendental materialism in which our deadened worlds breathed out new meaning. Tower blocks sighed sub-bass, rain-slick pavements carried us home; even McDonalds became a holy place of refuge with its own pitch-shifted choir.

The outburst of feeling this inspires is undeniable. Often for the first time, Untrue speaks to many of a world in which they actually live. Not the world of 20 years ago, or of more exclusive worlds we might voyeuristically tune into, but one existing for many people as they listen. Not everyone, it’s true, but enough and for long enough to leave a lasting impact on millions, spawn several genres dedicated to exploring the ground it unearthed and, from the viewpoint of 10 years later, remain one of the most impressive albums of its decade.

Even now, writing 1000 miles and half a continent away from the first place I heard it, Untrue holds its aura. 8am buses home are mostly behind me, and the echoes here are not of rave but a century of horror, but there was a time when I needed this album and it was there. A kind of gratitude comes out of listening to Untrue now, and the happy realisation that it is still there for plenty of others too.



Recent reviews by this author
Raime Toothkj wake
Tape Loop Orchestra Go Straight Towards the Light of All That You LovePhaeleh All That Remains
Brian Eno The ShipGidge Lulin

user ratings (1801)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • plane EMERITUS (5)
    ...

    Jade EMERITUS (4.5)
    God, can you please hurry and find me? / I wasn't sure if we could be friends...

    Deviant. STAFF (5)
    Ghost stories from the underground...

    chambered89 (5)
    ...

  • xAft3rDark (5)
    This is not the soundtrack to overlooking the city from a hilltop, hearing the rare hum of...

    Beachcoma (5)
    An album that will both motivate you and touch your soul the moment you hear it....

    wanderlust (5)
    Growing up condemns all of us to a grey world... a world where imagination and happiness i...

    defjaw83 (5)
    Burial takes us on a journey through the backstreets of a strange and wonderful city. It m...

  • Funeralopolis (5)
    Moving forward and back swaying in paranoia among the bright lights of the dense concrete ...

    Yyy (4)
    Another album for a lonely subway ride....


Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2017


2902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aside: I wonder if the original chanters of “hardcore will never die” ever envisioned themselves trapped in that memory forever, like nostalgia zombies held by some occult force from passing on. Hardcore screams out in despair: “why won’t you let me die?”

TheSpaceMan
November 7th 2017


9544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Archangle is so good but the rest was always on hold with me, maybe i'll sit down with it for its 10 year. i dont have that connection to foster but the longing vibes of the review match what the album sounds like

bloc
November 7th 2017


44274 Comments


Album took a while to grow on me, but a 5 it is

Digging: Beastmilk - Climax

Gyromania
November 7th 2017


23436 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. Nice to see you posting again



Everyone always highlights archangel (which is indeed awesome) but i think homeless is vastly superior

Ponton
Emeritus
November 7th 2017


6136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

some days, this moves what cant be moved

Digging: Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

Evokaphile
November 7th 2017


5872 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beautiful

Digging: Slowdive - Slowdive

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2017


2598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First few tracks are beyond amazing

Relinquished
November 7th 2017


36594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

better late than next year

Toad
November 7th 2017


1393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

whoa old school revival

great record obviously

Digging: The Goslings - Grandeur of Hair

Scoot
November 7th 2017


18768 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

etched headplate

Digging: 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin - Without Warning

Scoob
November 7th 2017


2992 Comments


Lol scoot

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2017


2902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am between staff and user: unstaff.

Lucid
November 8th 2017


8680 Comments


splendid work, you tap into the spiritual nature of burial's sound well

Sniff
November 8th 2017


3947 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Beautiful closing paragraph

HarryBoBerry
November 8th 2017


458 Comments


I'm late to the party, but I checked it out for the first time a few days ago. I'm just grateful that I finally experienced it. Really good album (and good review).

bloc
November 8th 2017


44274 Comments


I heard this album was made using only Audacity. Is that true?

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2017


2902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not audacity but some other non-DAW. so no drag-and-drop grids, only waveforms and tracks.

bloc
November 8th 2017


44274 Comments


Talent aside, that takes some serious patience and dedication lol

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2017


2902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

true - though he claims archangel took him 20 minutes

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2017


7605 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I still remember the review for this back in the day, in a homeland publication that is no more, saying this album is the sound of the future.

Digging: Fleurety - The White Death



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy