Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Burial: Untrue [Cargo, 2007]
Unlike most New Ambient, Burial's music is emotional, which helps its funk a lot, and eventful, which helps its interest even more. Fifteen years ago, we would have called it trip-hop or, stupidly, illbient (remember that one?). Now it's supposedly dubstep. I wouldn't quite class this with Maxinquaye--melodies and voices could be more distinct with no loss of atmosphere. But Burial--a single, scrupulously anonymous guy (although not so scrupulous that anyone suggests he's a woman)--has a sonic imagination worthy of Mr. Tricky himself. Burbling electronic ticktocks vie with a carillon of bell simulacra, and rarely have vinyl crackle or laser malfunction generated more musicality. The moniker and, apparently, the worldview, are dark, as the kids say. But when the mix is as rich as this, dark goes to a better place. A