It’s been quite a while since listening to an album made me lose track of the passing of time but Orbital's Wonky did just that, to the extent that I ended up oversleeping and being late for work. I didn’t hold it against it though so it soundtracked my workday too.
To say I’m wary of groups reforming (even if the members are related) is an understatement. Even if originally couched in terms of a hiatus, rather than a falling out with 3 members, for example, going off to do various levels of nothing then reconciling to rake in the cash from potential tours to places they never previously made it to, there’s the whiff of financial gain being the driving force about such events. Happily I don’t get that feeling at all in this instance. The recent Radio 6 live session and interview had already convinced me but the quality of the new music now revealed has set the seal on things – the Hartnolls’ creativity is undimmed, indeed positively enhanced by their joint return to active duty and the 3 year honing of the 9 new tracks since they returned to live performances in 2009.
You’d know this for an Orbital album anywhere as the distinctive yet still hard to pinpoint elements of their sound are evident in abundance right from the off. That’s not to say though that developments in their field have passed them by – ‘Satan’ has been re-worked into the bass and beats heavy ‘Beelzedub’ and dubstep and grime rear their heads at points (indeed grime leads to the album’s weakest moments, mostly the bits featuring Lady Leshurr on vocals on the title track).
‘Wonky’ aside though the duo never put a foot wrong over the course of fifty minutes and final track ‘Where Is It Going?’ easily rights any wrongs perpetrated by its predecessor. You’ll have this on repeat for weeks.