Album Review: Orbital


Orbital -‘Wonky’ (ACP Recordings)

Welcome back, Phil and Paul. A few years back, I argued that perhaps the really important brothers in music over the last 20 years had, in fact, not been the brothers Gallagher but the brothers Hartnoll. And I stand by that.

This is their first album in eight years, although they came off ‘indefinite hiatus’ in 2009. They had a fearsome reputation as a live act, made some brilliant albums that were thought-provoking and danceable, and enjoyed a number of hit singles.

Wonky is a great album, period. It pretty much picks up where they left off to the ears of this listener, no desperate attempts to appear dahn wiv der kids, or sounding like they’re flogging any dead horses going to pay the mortgage. It sounds like Classic Orbital and current at the same time. The album features contributions from Zola Jesus (on the single ‘New France’) and Lady Leshur on the title track.

If I said this was business as usual for Orbital, it would probably come across as if I was being dismissive. But the awesome work that characterized their great albums back in the 1990s is here in spades. It may seem that the album takes a while to get going the first time you hear it – but by the second or third time you are hooked. So great to be able to report that they are retreading past glories or offering this up as an exercise in nostalgia. Will we really be able to say the same when the yawningly inevitable Oasis reunion happens?


Wonky is released on ACP Recordings on April 2.

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