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Old 09-06-2010, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 14
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
A lot of what I would have said has already been covered, so I won't rehash a lot of key points.

Bird 1 is a good opener and sounds just enough like Underworld without being a slave to traditional modes, although anyone who's been to a recent UW gig will recognize the style to some extent.

Scribble works better in its album form than in the detached radio edit, or even the full single. It gets room to breathe here.

Hamburg Hotel I'll agree is somewhat aimless, but I enjoyed it. I couldn't help but think a bit of tracks like Skym or Winjer, and while it's not the same, it evoked that mood for me, however briefly.

The highlights in the second half are, by far, Between Stars and Diamond Jigsaw. The former has gobs of energy and enthusiasm, and it helped recall the Montreal concert last year, when I heard the song played live (to great effect). The vibe carries forward in the next track. Didn't know Paul van Dyk had influenced it until now, but that would make sense.

Aaaaand then there's Louisiana.

It feels like it must be a dedication to Karl's wife or something similar, because it's very much out of step with the rest of the album. I've certainly heard worse, but between the change in style and the disconcerting use of voice modulation... yeah, it doesn't work so well, here.

I will definitely recommend this album to anyone interested in techno, and I'd say it's in the upper echelons of Underworld albums, but I'll put an asterisk at the end of my recommendation: stop before Louisiana unless you're trying to be a completist.
Old 09-07-2010, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 893
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
Originally Posted by 34958hq439-qjw9v5jq298v5j View Post
Here's my honest take...this is kind of like the Thriller of electro...almost every track could be a single, doesn't really fit too well as an album, but it hardly matters. No, really:

"Bird 1" is like "Wanna be Startin Somethin", nervous, sneakily funky, very wordy.
"ALAF" would be "Thriller",
"Diamond Jigasaw" is of course "Beat It",
"Grace" would be "Billie Jean" (very rhythmic, kind of apprehensive),
"Moon in Water" would be "Human Nature",
"Between Stars" would be "PYT" (great dance tune with a retro synth hook)

god...i'm a dork
i loved this analysis.

i'm enjoying reading everyone's reviews.
Old 09-07-2010, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 893
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
okay i told myself i wouldn't do a track-by-track review but i've enjoyed everyone else's. my opinion has improved since my initial reaction several pages ago, although i still feel like it's a disjointed collection with the feeling of a collection of singles rather than an album experience. i'm currently ranking it below all of their other releases (excluding MK1 era), aside from ADHO, which still ranks as my least favorite release. individually i ranked a lot of the tracks high but as an overall analysis of the album as a cohesive release it ranks low.

the high points: bird 1, ALAF, scribble, between stars, diamond jigsaw
the middlin' points: hamburg hotel, grace, simple peal
the low points: moon in water, louisiana

bird 1 (10/10) - i formed an intense attachment to strumpet so i'm beyond thrilled that it's on the album. i was hoping i could ditch my compressed, roomy live tracks but unfortunately the album version is missing some of the details i love from the live jam. it's missing one harmony layer of the staccato rhythmic vocal sample that runs throughout, and that's a shame since it was one of my favorite details. it's also light on the low-end on a flattened EQ, and i find myself needing to crank the bass to get any satisfaction. still, i can't stop listening to it. i wish it were longer.

ALAF (8/10) - i want to hate it. i really do, because i love the previous versions. i mean, where the hell did these poppy lyrics come from? and is karl actually singing about love?? but as much as i want to dislike it, i can't. it was stuck in my head from the moment i woke up today and every time my mind drifts off i find myself humming the hook. have i mentioned i love downpipe? probably not a coincidence that i'm hooked on the ALAF album version now.

scribble (8/10) - if i'd never heard YDS i might have ranked this a 9/10 or 10/10. i dislike the break in the middle and i find the synth stabs weirdly out of place. that said, i love happy karl and his lyrics make me smile and i want to play this one loud on a bright sunny day.

Hamburg Hotel (7/10) - my brain keeps saying "hamburger helper." i love this track for its nod to mid-90s UW. i would rank it higher but, as others have noted, it never really achieves dénouement and instead just sort of peters out. it's more of a journey for the journey's sake. it tells no story. it's a lovely journey, but i expected a story.

grace (7/10) - depeche mode? it's like ultra, black celebration and some great reward had a 3-way and spat out this lovely hybrid. seriously, i've put way too much brain power into identifying exactly which DM albums lend themselves to this track. i like it, but as a reformed modie i was bound to like it. and that 7/10 might become an 8/10 or 9/10 after several more listens. i love their exploration of this sound. it's new for them and i feel like it's successful. the more i'm writing this review the more i want to say. that's a good sign, yes? it's a thinker of a track.

between stars (10/10) - one of only two tracks that improved through collaboration. i can't get enough of this thumper. but again, ramirez and knight have a way of getting under my skin. the pacing is excellent, the instrumentation and vocalizations are strong, and it's really appealing. i wish it were longer.

diamond jigsaw (7.5/10) - biggest surprise for me, because i hated the previous version (which i called a tribute to the pointer sisters' "jump for mylove."). it's still a little too reminiscent of MK1 for my taste but it's fun as hell. i would rank it as a 6/10 based on the "verse" sections but it's a solid 9/10 during the "chorus" sections. i can respect the song as a solid composition and i get why people would like it, it just isn't quite my aesthetic preference overall. note: my husband is not an UW fan, and when he first heard this track he looked at me and said, "are we in the neverending story?" so i guess there's something to that observation!

moon in water (4/10) - WTF? maybe i just need to listen to this one more. i'm not trying to be a dick about it but how are people rating this one as their favorite on the album? it's grating and pretentious and i really don't understand the admiration.

louisiana (0/10) - this one joins the "UW songs i hate" club. no biggie, almost every album has a song i hate, and this one is barking's contribution. it joins river of bass, something like a mama and the hump as one of my all time least favorite songs. it's treacly and vapid and frankly if that's what i want in a song i'll go listen to charlene's "i've never been to me" because at least there's some kitsch value there.

simple peal (3/10) - booooooooring. i love a good ambient journey but this one gives me nothing. maybe i'd appreciate it more on its own but after an entire album of hard banging singles my brain isn't in the mood for this drag. i want to like it, but i'm probably going to have to listen to it separately from this album in order to build any appreciation for it.

a note on collaborators - what's the deal with adding a repetition of 3 notes of a sawtooth wave synth patch? particularly bird 1 and scribble. do these guys receive the files and go, "well i have to contribute something melodic..." and then punch out 3 notes? it's out of place.

Last edited by cacophony; 09-07-2010 at 08:14 AM.
Old 09-07-2010, 11:01 AM
Future Proof
Richard Simmons
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Section 8
Posts: 347
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
I don't feel like doing a track-by-track as I don't want to have to describe what the differences in the tracks are.

The problem with this album is that there's only one song that really tries to push boundaries instead of stay in a safe spot. Louisiana is the unlikely song on the album, in particular an album that owes as much if not more to Kylie Minogue and Madonna as it does sweaty warehouse floors and heady art shops. Initially I was unpleasantly surprised that such a melancholy, serious affair would close this album out, but the more I hear it, the more that I'm struck with how good it is. It shows RnK in a different light, is daring and even though I feel that they could have exercised more discretion when recording the vocals, the little breaks and fluctuations in Karl's voice are honest and real. This I feel is what some reviewers talked about when they were saying that straight-forward lyrics were a surprising fit for UW, as the only thing remotely abstract about the lyrics are the metaphors that are fairly clear to understand in the song's context.

This is a well enough and enjoyable (note this!) album but the problem is that anyone could have made this album, whereas with any of the other studio releases from MK2 and MK3 one could ever claim that. Then again, after listening to the atrocity of OWB I can't help but wonder if at this stage that the boys are played out to the point that they just can't write a solid hour's worth of music for an album anymore. But even then, OWB was honest. Just call this album "UW and friends" to get it over with, and let's see if I'm right or wrong when the outtakes album becomes available.

A harsh review, but an honest one. This is maybe the best album since Beaucoup Fish, not as good as DUBNO and certainly not as good as STITI, but those albums are tough acts to follow.

Last edited by Future Proof; 09-07-2010 at 11:06 AM.
Old 09-08-2010, 05:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 163
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
I love all the tunes that are currently in the live set. I'm also really fond of Simple Peal. Hamburg Hotel is good. Grace I've tired of really quickly after liking it initially. Moon In Water bugs me 'cos of the drawled delivery. Louisiana is unlistenable. No prizes for guessing I wish Downpipe was on there. 6.5/10
Old 09-08-2010, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: The Fens and Radsviliskis, Lithuania
Posts: 583
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
All these comments saying Hamburg Hotel never went anywhere. Maybe you all want to listen to Cups again.... (que backlash)
Kittens the finest moment on BF. Cups felt rushed to me. I know someone on here will back me up with Kittens!
Anyway Barking now 2nd in my top albums. Nothing will top STITI im afraid..
Old 09-08-2010, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 2,095
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
Originally Posted by Flywaver View Post
All these comments saying Hamburg Hotel never went anywhere. Maybe you all want to listen to Cups again
Cups, the track that starts out with a see-it-in-sound walk on a city street corner, then moves into a mellow, moody and groovy track while transitioning into a slightly heavier, more layered track by slowly and methodically introducing the beats that are going to throw you to the ground at the song's MASSIVE CLIMACTIC FINISH!? That Cups?

Good lord, Cups is the epitome of a track that takes you somewhere. This isn't merely backlash, this is fact. :P

Kittens also has a climax. It has a beginning (beats) a middle (drops + keyboard intros) and a two-part ending (one where its just keyboards, and once when the drums come rolllllllllllllllllllling back in!)

For clarification, Hamburg Hotel is just like taking one section of both of those songs. Barely a begining and no ending.

Last edited by potatobroth; 09-08-2010 at 10:28 AM.
Old 09-08-2010, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: The Fens and Radsviliskis, Lithuania
Posts: 583
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
Found This

Oh and Up Yours Backlash!
Old 09-08-2010, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 893
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
you'd best not be saying cups and kittens are anything less than brilliant.

Old 09-08-2010, 02:22 PM
the doorway boy...
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 678
Re: Thoughts on Barking (Track by Track)
It'll be a while before I can carve my feeling in stone on this album. I will say at first listen, I'm already giving it permanent status on my iPod/iPhone/Mac/Work PC/CD Player... my only gripe is that it's under 60 minutes w/the bonus Simple Peal. Whatever happened to the 70+ minutes of Underworld I'm used to

Here's my quick albeit efficient review - this will change I'm sure:
Bird 1 - Big Emotion - great start - good finish
ALAF - Always Loved An Underworld Song - it just moves you
Scribble - You Do Scribble? - redrawn in color
Hamburg Hotel - catchy beat - but slightly forgettable
Grace - monotone & repetitious greatness... Holding The Mothish...
Between Stars - retro electro - freakin' awesome track
Diamond Jigsaw - can we say UW Mk1'ish... love the guitar
Moon In Water - decent - the vocals catch the beat really well - bad placement - I think it should have been placed between Grace and Between Stars
Louisiana - Out of place - however, it's a very emotional track - one of Karl's finest balads. I love it - just doesn't fit with the album - but as stated before - almost every UW album has it's out of place treatment - I think it was fitting to place it at the end.

...and that's my 02.
be bold. be beautiful. free...

Last edited by ultradave; 09-08-2010 at 02:25 PM. Reason: louisiana
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