|Design||Art direction, photographs and paintings by John Warwicker, Tomato|
|Listen||Underworld – Scribble:|
|Notes||Underworld’s connection with left-field design agency Tomato is well-documented. That relationship has resulted in a number of challengingly abstract, monochromatic cover designs that are defiantly anti-taste and as attitude-rich as Karl Hyde’s curated stream-of-consciousness engagement with Greater London and its environs – Underworld are the chroniclers of this contemporary metropolis par-excellence.
The brilliantly titled Barking (second only in the title stakes to the unbeatably moniker’ed Second Toughest In The Infants) goes all technicolour on us while retaining the anti-design aesthetic of previous releases. With latter-day Underworld much sunnier in its disposition, the bright colours make a lot of sense. Bright may be an understatement though: there are times when you can hear the colour without looking at it. It’s as visually noisy and unruly as a shopping street on a Saturday morning.
This is the deluxe version of the album and the physical packaging is great, consisting of a sturdy 10″ slipcase with a hardbound book containing the discs and a multi-page glossy attachment in magazine format. There’s a second CD of alternate mixes/sketches that are enjoyable if inevitably less impressive than the final versions, as well as a DVD of films for each of the album’s songs which are ultimately a little disappointing.
At an Amazon price of £30 it’s an affordable deluxe edition which better suits the idea of the industrialised democracy of music presentation than the increasingly ubiquitous limited and highly expensive editions.