Leftfield – Alternative Light Source
Ah, the 1990s. One long Danny Boyle soundtrack of a decade. And while legitimate classics such as Leftism and Rhythm and Stealth helped to document our comings and goings, Alternative Light Source – Leftfield’s first studio album in 16 years – suggests that at least one party from back then is still going.
Now with Neil Barnes in sole control, he’s assisted by hired hands including TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe (opener Bad Radio) and court jesters Sleaford Mods (Head and Shoulders). Yet whilst acerbic and atmospheric – Little Fish a contusion of distended, seasick beats, Storm’s End all sly and mesmerising – such souped-up electronica never pushes against the listener. These ten tracks often allude to kinks and sharp edges without necessarily delivering either. The result is a record that sounds curiously dated, items such as Bilocation (Poliça’s Channy Leaneagh on vocals) and lead single Universal Everything certainly piquing interest, but also leaving us yearning for a sharper blade. [Duncan Harman]