Alternative Light Source


(CD - Liberator Music #LIB175CD)

Review by David Jeffries

The Matrix and Fight Club were in theaters the last time Leftfield released an album, and in those 16 years, the former duo lost a member as Paul Daley has moved on to a solo career, leaving Neil Barnes the sole proprietor. In spite of this, 2015's Alternative Light Source picks up right where 1999's Rhythm and Stealth left off, and it does so without ignoring the modern sound. "Head and Shoulders," a wobbly highlight that recalls LFO or Mr. Oizo, brings in current group the Sleaford Mods to help bring the album up to time with an indie "dandruff warriors" rap, while Channy Leaneagh of Poli├ža is an asset to her two tracks, wailing like a progressive house siren should during "Bilocation" and expertly auditioning for Underworld on the robot dancefloor wonder dubbed "Little Fish." The winding "Bad Radio" with Tunde Adebimpe is heavenly, Gary Numan-esque, and a bit like being in a Blade Runner character's head, and yet the complicated number is a perfect example of how Barnes is true to the Leftfield aesthetic, as all these guests are surrounded by dark and spacy house music, sometimes epic and sometimes intricate. The lack of urgency is also welcome, with Alternative Light Source slowly unfurling as the most natural and comfortable Leftfield album to date, and one confident enough to exit on "Levitate for You," a bold and bare R&B song somewhere between Prince and 4hero.

blue highlight denotes track pick