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Orbital, Wonky
Capitol Records, April 3

03/29/12
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Rave-electronica veterans Orbital haven’t released an LP since 2004’s Blue Album, after which they announced a breakup that lasted until a 2008 reunion and beyond, until now. They were huge in the ’90s, their pretty “Halcyon and On and On” perhaps the pinnacle of their hugeness in that it appeared on the Mortal Kombat and Hackers soundtracks. But now that raving is as corporatized as anything else, this duo — whose sensibilities, at least, are rooted in a more rebellious, flash-mob mindset — are forced to take whatever scraps they can get if they’re going to continue refusing to do vocal hits-oriented stuff. This stubbornness has resulted in the best after-party techno-chill album of the year thus far in Wonky, which seems to want to bridge the gap between the Ed Banger sound and goth, the latter most obviously catered to with some vocal help from Florence Welch-wannabe Zola Jesus, who adds some dreamy woo-woos and whatnot to “New France,” their idea of a sugary hit, which leads into “Distractions,” which is even nicer. Most of the songs prior to and preceding those two tunes mix Nintendo-bloop, dubstep, old-jack cavitation, new-jack haunted house and various other for-dummies electro scribbles, altogether a thick, plush couch of sound in which to rest the joys of the evening, whether or not MDMA was involved. A- —Eric W. Saeger






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