London duo Leftfield's fearsome underground reputation with a brace of eclectic dancefloor shakers went overground with Open Up, their 1992 collaboration with John Lydon.
Perfectionism is blamed for the delay of this debut album but the spirit entails heavy rhythm, a leaning toward song structures and a sweltering cosmopolitan flavour, as the presence of sundry guest vocalists testifies. Ex-Curve warbler Toni Halliday gets pouted up for the sultry rock / electro fusion Original; the sweltering electro-skanking Release the Pressure finds plenty of room for reggae maestro Earl Sixteen; likewise Afro-Left's joyous, jittering Afro-House for Djum Djum, while toaster Danny Red, Manchester poet Lem Sissay and Lydons coruscating wail are in for the ride.
Where percussive drive takes over, as on Song Of Life and Black Flute, Leftfield unleash some of the most thumping techno to be housed under a major label.
On this evidence, Leftfield join Underworld, The Prodigy and Orbital as dance acts to prove themselves across an album.
**** (out of 5)
review by Marion Aston (nicked from 'Q', dated February 1995)