Burial

Untrue | Hyperdub
By NICK SYLVESTER  |  December 26, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
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Dubstep, a sparse, bass-heavy hybrid of dub reggae and the broken rhythms of UK garage, has been given its Dizzee Rascal moment with the release of Burial’s Untrue, the elusive London producer’s second album. His songs have a simple, uniform formula — foggy minor-key drones set to soft woodblock hits and metallic clacks while some distorted vocal sample drifts through the mix wraith-like, repeating pop heartbreak and platitudes from decades past. The cumulative effect is draining. Imagine one of those Whitney Houston–type ballads from the ’90s had it gone unrequited, with the schmaltz left to smolder — that’s “Ghost Hardware.” Why anyone would want to be subjected to such gloom is a good question, except that Burial is a witch with the kind of drum programming that leaves no choice in the matter — just check the dense latticework of vocal clips, knife slices, and sub-bass skids in “Homeless.” At the very end, there’s a brilliant track called “Raver”; a cruel joke, it’s the album’s only straight-ahead positive-force dance number.
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