"Where’s the fucking chorus?!" growled grumpy ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon when he heard the first demo of what would be the breakout 1993 single from Leftism, 'Open Up'.
That song went on to feature on an album that would help define British dance music in the '90s.
The duo's Paul Daley told the UK's Channel 4 they knew they were onto something special, both with Lydon and the album in general.
"It was the record that crosses over into mainstream pop music, I suppose," he said. "It was a record that, if you weren’t’ into dance music, but you liked punk or rock music, that you could suddenly get into this."
Leftfield’s use of vocalists like the moody Toni Halliday, reggae artist Earl Sixteen as well as the aforementioned punk icon showed they had a strong vision for this album.
In a recent Double J interview with Myf Warhurst, Neil Barnes explained the unique impact and influence of the album
"We were both very non-compromising," he said. "I would say, 'don’t listen to anyone'. If you want to do something new in music, you have to do what you feel. When people tell you it’s impossible to do, then that’s when you should definitely do it, because that’s what makes it different.
"We were told, in the early days, what we were doing in the studio with the EQ, especially on bass was impossible and wrong and we shouldn’t be doing it and we didn’t know what we were talking about. We just ignored everybody and that’s why the sound is what it is."
With Leftism, Daley and Barnes demonstrated comprehensively that dance music was able to serve up complexities of texture. That it could merge and morph with different genres, be highly energetic and heavy whilst being accessible to broader audiences outside the club scene. In short, their debut proved that electronic music was ready to move out of the rave caves and make a brave run for bigger pastures.
The trance, techno, reggae, dub inspired house record was so distinct that critics had to devise a new name for it. They called it 'progressive house'.
To hear the diversity on this record is both a freeing and confounding experience.
African rhythms and reggae influences ('Release the Pressure', 'Afro-Left') sit comfortably alongside the icy sensuality of ‘Original’, the pulsating tribal trance of ‘Space Shanty’, the delicious ambience of ‘Melt’ with more hard hitting techno ('Black Flute') and some breakbeat ('Storm 3000') thrown in for good measure.
On paper it reads a little too wide ranging to work as a single listening experience, but then again the Leftfield team knew they had a ‘sound’ that would tie it all together.
"We put a lifetime of dance ideas into our debut album Leftism, but the massive success was totally unexpected," Neil Barnes recently told The Guardian.
That success is evident in the many dance acts that followed on through the door Leftfield opened to the mainstream.
Famously, Leftfield were banned from the Brixton Academy because the throbbing power of their music caused the plaster to fall off the ceiling at the historic venue. Leftism still gives us shuddering thrills in today's digital age, where instant gratification and disposability means songs can come and go in the blink of an eye. It is still, sometimes literally, shaking dance music’s foundations.