Published Nov 28, 20109. Darkstar North (Hyperdub)
Instead of mostly irrelevant dubstep comparisons, it's more pertinent to ask whether Darkstar is this era's Portishead, or perhaps the Human League, whose "(You Remind Me Of) Gold" is gorgeously transformed on this disc. Darkstar have updated a winning formula combining dramatic, Anglo-melancholic songcraft with cutting edge mid-tempo electronic music. North's strongest association to UK bass music is its simultaneous double and half-time rhythms, as well as a tense, spare sound. But North impresses most as a pop album: chord changes are reassuring in their minor-key way, and vocals are perfectly cool yet fraught.