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A Final Hit - The Best of Leftfield

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Album Review

Pioneers of the intelligent progressive house scene, London duo Neil Barnes and Paul Daley, aka Leftfield, were part of the group of '90s artists who made dance music that was impossible to dance to, which included Massive Attack, Tricky, and Portishead. Despite six Top 40 hits, a number one album, and two Mercury Music Prize nominations, their dark, brooding, and often menacing brand of alternative electronica hasn't really been greeted with the same reverence as their peers' work has been in the resulting decade which, without much fanfare, has seen them quietly go their separate ways in 2002. In 2005, this 15-track compilation — which includes material from their two studio albums, 1995's Leftism and 1999's Rhythm and Stealth, plus their contributions to soundtracks for three Danny Boyle films, Trainspotting ("A Final Hit"), his directorial debut ("Shallow Grave"), and The Beach ("Snakeblood"), and two of their earliest tracks ("Not Forgotten," "More Than I Know") — show that they undoubtedly deserve to be held in the same high regard. The big hitters will be most listeners' first starting points, and they still sound as fresh and revolutionary as they did ten years prior. Their most famous tune, "Phat Planet," which was used as the soundtrack to the award-winning Guinness Surfer ad, is perhaps one of the most hypnotic singles ever to grace the Top Ten, thanks to its rumbling basslines, pounding breakbeats, and industrial synths; "Open Up" is an irresistible slice of guitar-charged techno featuring vocals from the iconic John Lydon which are just as snarling and punk-fueled as they were in his Sex Pistols heyday; while "Original" is an ethereal piece of dubby trip-hop featuring the disengaged but haunting tones of Curve lead singer Toni Halliday. But with a diverse array of guest vocalists including hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa, Jamaican reggae artist Earl Sixteen, and British rapper Roots Manuva, the lesser-known material is just as pulsating. Whether it's the robotic electro of "Afrika Shox," the trippy drum‘n'bass of "Swords," the acid-house dancehall of "Release the Pressure," or the tribal trance of "Afroleft," the pair never fail to provide challenging and creative dance music which effortlessly weaves its way around the history of club culture. Final Hit: Greatest Hits leaves you wishing Leftfield had stuck around for more than two albums, but for those yet to discover their eclectic and often thrilling sound, this all too brief but reflective career retrospective is a great place to start. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews


'tis good.


Great album.


Formed: 1991 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The production team which brought house music back from the brink of commercial mediocrity, Leftfield made it safe for artistic producers to begin working in a new vein termed progressive house. Paul Daley (a former member of A Man Called Adam and the Brand New Heavies) and programmer Neil Barnes combined the classic soul of early Chicago and New York house with the growing Artificial Intelligence school of album-oriented techno to create classic, intelligent dance music. When legal hassles over...
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A Final Hit - The Best of Leftfield, Leftfield
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