From the spoken word introduction “One Big Moment” to the bass heavy, fuzz heavy, acid house undergrowth of “Beelzebub” this new collection by London’s Orbital shows there’s still some life in the old Acid House scene. Yeah, the vocals on “One Big Moment” are a head fake; 60 seconds in you start tossing off the term “phat” like you’d say “apps” at the Apple store. But then the chords tone down, and a pop-flavored beat tackles an 8-bit synth and we are on our way around the M-25 once again.
There are nine generous cuts here; this would be a full micro-groove LP if they released it in vinyl (gotta check on one of those 180-gram shops). The beats are strong and anthemic: “Straight Sun” will get you stomping around the dance floor and shopping for Doc Martens and keep you going till the gothy electro pop “New France” scans – here we find some vocals from Zola Jesus who I shudder to admit I did not know about. “Stringy Acid” is the next outstanding morsel. It’s a Detroit flavored mix and the press stuff quotes Paul Hartnoll stating they added “shiny, seagulls-being-machine-gunned sounds” to the mix. (Note: no seagulls were injured or forced to take X on this album.) Things slow down for “Beelzedub,” that dub step version of their unrecorded cut “Satan.” There’s a lot going on here: staccato drums, skipping samples, and an ominous Ozzy Osborne rhythm. Yeah, I know… you’ll start chanting “Satan. Satan. Satan.” Goths. Can’t get away from them, and can’t get them to bleed out. I’ll leave you with title track “Wonky.” It’s a rappy, hyper-speed reggae track with vocals by a Birmingham girl on her way up, Lady Lashurr. Warped synth lines and tight vocal drops build and build and by the time you’re done, the sweat should be running in to your eyes.
I’d say this is comparable to anything the Hartnoll boyz ever did, and worth adding to your collection.