Orbital - Wonky

Originally growing out of the London rave scene, (The “orbital” of their name referring to the M25 orbital motorway, around which the rave scene originally grew) Orbital decided to return to the music scene with their heads held high. Their reign of over a decade at the top of their trade ended with their Blue Album back in the mists of time in 2004, but as with many musicians, retirement isn't always permanent. Recently, the lure of music won out and they reformed their live act back in 2009 for shows at Rockness, The Big Chill and more. Since then they have been tempting us at gigs around the world with glimpses of new work and the release of the Don’t Stop Me Now/The Gun Is Good back in 2010 to whet our appetites.

Fast forward to April 2012 and the wait is finally over with the appearance of Wonky, Orbital's eighth full length release and the first for over eight years. They have satiated their fans' desire to hear more, ceased the worry of whether the wait has been worth it and if Orbital have spun off in a completely new direction and handed us an album of avant-garde jazz. To give you the quick review, they have come out with a winner with Wonky – still keeping that familiar ‘Orbital’ sound, but also bringing in a sound that has been growing and maturing over their break, allowing time to relax away from the limelight and take in some new influences and sounds.

Album opener One Big Moment starts out with a slow swell into territory instantly familiar to fans of Orbital’s previous work. It takes its time to gradually build and grow into a great relaxed track which eases you into the album and puts a smile on your face. Its upbeat tone and feel is a sound that is retained throughout the album; it captures a brilliantly laid back and tranquil sound, but it is also interesting, draws you in, and keeps the mood happy rather than tailing off and putting you to sleep. This is especially shown with tracks like Never and New France. The flipside to these more familiar, chilled out tracks come in pieces like Beezledub, a track showing that rather than stick stolidly to the sound they created for themselves, Orbital are more than willing to take influence from more modern genres and sounds such as dubstep. This influence, which is clearly shown in Beezledub, takes the hallmark sounds of dubstep and twists them round to fit them in with that familiar sound and feel of Orbital. To add another flavour and dimension to the album we also get guest vocal appearances at different points, for example on tracks New France (feat Zola Jesus) and title track Wonky, (feat Lady Lenshurr) with Wonky especially showing a blend of modern and traditional dance styles throughout.

This range of influences is what keeps Orbital moving forwards, and hands us the proof that not only were they one of the top electronic bands around at the turn of the century, but they have the ability to be as relevant as ever and draw in a whole new group of fans that missed out a decade ago. Orbital are a band refreshed and ready to take on the world all over again.

Wonky is released on the 2nd of April on ACP records, and the first single from the album, New France is out now.


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