Review of Wonky Album by Orbital

It is always a cause for concern when any group returns to the music industry after a sustained period of absence, especially when they were once seen as key players in their genre of music.

Orbital Wonky Album

Anyway, Orbital are back with a brand new studio album after an eight year sabbatical. They have of course been reunited as an act for the past few years, coming back in 2009 to headline The Big Chill Festival in Herefordshire - and what a show it was.

However, we should never forget the robust task at hand, when trying to reproduce the quality of music the duo once did. The times have changed, and dance music especially, evolves rapidly. Dub step or as most disc jockeys refer to now as 'bass music' is in full flow, ever popular across the country.

The dance industry and genre they helped create from the beginning of the nineties has changed dramatically and not many artists are able to waltz straight back into it.

Prodigy is the only group that comes to mind, although comparing these two is similar to juxtaposing Peroni and Stella; they're both lager, but one is a tasty soothing beverage, whilst the other causes mayhem and chaos. You can decide which is which.

But I suppose the easiest way to go about the new album is to please the masses, which is what they have accomplished.

The album begins with vintage analogue synths that are reminiscent of their previous material. Although, as the album progresses, it is evident they have tried to include all modern genre's of electronic music into their production, ranging from break beat, to dub step, house and drum and bass.

'New France' featuring Zola Budd is a true Orbital track, not too heavy and beautifully euphoric that makes you think you are back in the nineties. It will undoubtedly cause emotionally and chemically charged aficionados to indulge in the light-dreamy beats and hand raising moments. With emotive synths, Orbital are back and seem like they are in orbit, or better put, DJ's out of this world.

Sadly, there are not many tracks like this on the album, and 'Beezledub' is the polar opposite, entering the realm of hard dub step. It just doesn't seem to fit the Orbital mentality, however, I am sure it will drive dub step fans mental, although trance, house and dub step do not mix, and playing 'Beezlebub' to the wrong crowd may have severe ramifications.

'Wonky' is just pure break beat that makes you want to get up and move, which is a brave move, as break beat has seemingly died through the naughties. That doesn't matter at all though, as the veterans of dance pulled this off extremely well, a track the Freestylers would have been proud of in their heyday.

In 'Distractions' they have produced or more like orchestrated a track that is more fitting for a movie score, including lots of innovative synths that is reminiscent of the intro on Magnetic Man's album. It is surprisingly soothing despite the bass and Star Wars like sound effects.

With the guys touring again this year, and headlining the Secret Garden Party and Bestival, the duo have given themselves more than enough ammunition to play with and please the fans.


Adam Holden

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