Wonky Album Review

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Carpathian
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Re: Wonky Album Review

Post by Carpathian »

Only a few spins in but decided to drop a 'knee jerk' review while I have all the thoughts in my head. Forgive any errors as I'm at work (ahem) and meant to be doing many other things 8)

One Big Moment - As somebody who adores Sniv as much as many on here rate In Sides the start made the hairs on the back of my favourite memories stand up. Feels like kicking the album off with a statement of intent, almost swagger, from two brothers having fun and revelling in being back - the sound of rediscovery and reconnection as much with each other as with their own back catalogue.

Straight Sun + Never - With these two being dropped as promo pretty much together and being around for the longest it's hard not to see them as a pair. Classic Orbital in every sense with the vocal use in Never absolutely on-point for what they do best - intricate work that never sounds forced but more a natural evolving groove. Both tracks have proved growers and make you realise what it was that was missing in the last few albums - a sense of pacing in tracks rather than taking a gimmick or single idea and then hammering it relentlessly.

New France - Was originally more intrigued by the combination than anything else but now love this as a track in it's own right. The album version definitely benefits from the longer latter end. Makes the vocals seem more of a feature than a novelty and gives it the breathing space that the single version lacked for me.

Distractions - only the Hartnolls seem to have truly mastered 'raging melancholy' (tm) - like a follow-up documentary to Dwr Budr where they ask "Remember this story we ran before? Let's return and see how things have changed?". It's emotive, powerful and keeps an edge to it. Just brilliant.

The little segue out of the end of this made me laugh out loud - so wonderfully old-school :mrgreen:

Stringy Acid - Those first few seconds made my Carl Craig radar sound and for somebody who rates his "More Songs About Food And Revolutionary Art" as one of his favourite electronic albums ever that's a very good thing. To take the classic new-Detroit sound and yet keep it Hartnoll is quite a feat, especially as it never descends into pastiche or cheese fest. You can just feel the love coming from it for that era and style.

Beelzedub - When I first heard people saying that they'd "gone dubstep" I was worried about them pinning their colours to the mast of a style already mutating and moving on. If anything, it reminds me more of an updated relation to Desert Storm in mood, rather than style, except angrier and more in-your-face. Again, it's the raging melancholy (tm) in full effect and surprisingly, given it's heritage, up there with the best stuff they've done. It just works.

Wonky - For me (personal preference caveat very much in place) I wonder if they didn't miss a trick with this one - use an instrumental version on the album and the vocal version on the single & video. Feels like those two ways would have fitted the respective places better? That said, it's still great fun and just about veers away from a gimmick.

Where Is It Going? - when the rising synth line starts after about a minute in I smiled like the Cheshire Cat. To play out while keeping the tone harder and more dynamic but still an element of emotion and confidence?

I'd absolutely echo two things people have been saying. One is that it's by far the best album by them for many, many years and secondly that the only thing to have really made it better would have been for some of the tracks to push on for a bit longer - I could happily double the length of many.

Still, if the only negative is wanting more of the same then that's no bad thing......

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Re: Wonky Album Review

Post by Sysagent »

I know I might get slated for this...

But.

I think the album is way too short, the whole thing last's out to 50:41, in this modern age you would at least expect a good solid hour or more for an album and considering you can safely eek out 74 minutes on a red book CD it's defo not a technical restriction.

;-(

Don't get me wrong it's a good album (not up there with the Brown album or Snivilisation) but it's just too damn short, it's as if they only had one 50p left for the studio meter or something, infact looking at the Brown album that lasts a good solid hour and five minutes, Snivilisation a stonking one hour and fifteen minutes.

Why the shortness of the track mixes, why the shortness of the album, could they not be arsed with adding more complexity to the tunes and drawing them out more intelligently like they were so obviously adept to in the past?

I don't know about anybody else but I feel like I have been sold short a bit, especially with all the build-up and hype to the release.

Edit: Even the Bonus CD is longer than the actual album release.

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Re: Wonky Album Review

Post by legspin »

Be Pure, Be Vigilant, BEHAVE.

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Re: Wonky Album Review

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I'd just like to echo some of the comments. The cheshire cat grinning syndrome is one I had for lengthy parts through this album.
It really is nice. Has some really good light and shade going on. It's got loads of "tear your head off" moments, plus the nice smooth melancholy that we know and love. Really is a return to form. (I keep saying that lol in relation to this album.) The lads really must have had a blast recording and mixing it.

Still not sure about "wonky" though lol.

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Re: Wonky Album Review

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BombJack wrote:Still not sure about "wonky" though lol.
I was still thinking that even while posting my review earlier but that track came round again not long after and the vocals on it kinda clicked more than previously. Sometimes it takes a few plays to hear things as they are rather than how you expect.

I'm now veering towards thinking she really gives the track some momentum and extra "POW!" factor.

The "Rave Cats Chorus", as I'm going to call it, was never it doubt for me - that was a :mrgreen: idea from the start!

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Re: Wonky Album Review

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Maybe just need to give it more of a blast. Might be a grower (though lol I really doubt it).
The rest of the album more than makes up for it.

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Re: Wonky Album Review

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FWIW, 2nd time round on "Wonky" (the song) and it's improving lol

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Re: Wonky Album Review

Post by shadyboy »

Interesting that Paul is credited alone for writing the album apart from Beezledub and Wonky....
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Re: Wonky Album Review

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Yeah, I noticed that too :shock:

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Re: Wonky Album Review

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shadyboy wrote:Interesting that Paul is credited alone for writing the album apart from Beezledub and Wonky....
Aye I noticed that as well.

Beelzedub got probably credited as it is Satan in disguise and interestingly Wonky is one of the weaker tracks on the album, is the Wonky album The Ideal Condition Part II I wonder and if so why has Phil not had any real input to the album?

Strangeness...

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Re: Wonky Album Review

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Carpathian wrote: I'd absolutely echo two things people have been saying. One is that it's by far the best album by them for many, many years and secondly that the only thing to have really made it better would have been for some of the tracks to push on for a bit longer - I could happily double the length of many.

Still, if the only negative is wanting more of the same then that's no bad thing......

Agree 100 percent with that. Having given it 4 or 5 spins its still early days but I'm loving it. Certainly the best since MON. Quite where it will stack up only time will tell.

Its a shame about the length of the album. Its not a major gripe but I just wonder how it could have been if they'd extended a couple of these tracks; gone off on a tangent as they have done so successfully in the past. I guess I'm pining a bit for that epic 'centre piece' that grows and grows on you over time. Think Out there Somewhere or Are we here.

I wonder if there was a deliberate attempt NOT to do this. I remember reading an interview years back (MoN era I think) when they mentioned they were trying to shorten the tracks (though clearly not much with MoN!!!)

I'm not that familiar with the album yet but listening to it a few times I've noticed that tracks generally build faster, elements are introduced more rapidly than earlier albums as if there is a deliberate attempt to condense the tracks down. I wonder also if Flood had an influence here. I've observed a lot of the albums he's produced are fairly short in length (I'm thinking specifically of albums like Violator and Zooropa).

Perhaps they were looking specifically to make an impact with the tracks - so that they leap up and bang you in the face rather than creep up on you. That's certainly how it feels. If so, its certainly not bad thing. Just a change in style and approach from the 90s albums.

The key thing is whilst 'The Altogether' failed with a similar approach, Wonky succeeds. The tracks may be shorter but they are just as rich and dynamic and vibrant as some of the very best of the back catalogue. Just takes a bit of getting used to.
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Re: Wonky Album Review

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shadyboy wrote:Interesting that Paul is credited alone for writing the album apart from Beezledub and Wonky....

Being the geek I am I actually noticed this reading the inlay before even listeing to the album. Truly bizarre, is it not??

Phil was there in the studio for all but one of the diaries??? Or did Paul just drag him into the studio for 5 mins every Friday to film them??

Or is it that they both wrote the music but Paul drew the map? :wink:
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Re: Wonky Album Review

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donkey rhubarb wrote:Perhaps they were looking specifically to make an impact with the tracks - so that they leap up and bang you in the face rather than creep up on you. That's certainly how it feels. If so, its certainly not bad thing. Just a change in style and approach from the 90s albums.

The key thing is whilst 'The Altogether' failed with a similar approach, Wonky succeeds. The tracks may be shorter but they are just as rich and dynamic and vibrant as some of the very best of the back catalogue. Just takes a bit of getting used to.
I think that's good reasoning all round. When you've been away and need to make an impact with both the audience you already have AND those coming to you fresh it may serve you better to target things more directly. Yeah, I'd have loved some epic epic's but would that have been a bit preaching to the converted?

Alternatively it may have nothing at all to do with impact (pun intended :D ) but everything to do with where the brothers are at. If longer tracks aren't on their radar at the moment then I'd rather they didn't force things just because they used to do things like that before. They stopped because it wasn't fun so you really don't come back for any reason other than what you really want to do at the time.

Either way I'm more than happy with the results so it's more curiosity than complaint!

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Re: Wonky Album Review

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Carpathian wrote: If longer tracks aren't on their radar at the moment then I'd rather they didn't force things just because they used to do things like that before. They stopped because it wasn't fun so you really don't come back for any reason other than what you really want to do at the time.

Either way I'm more than happy with the results so it's more curiosity than complaint!
Yep, totally agree with that. Give them a few weeks on tour and I bet some of these songs will grow in length to become monsters anyway. :)
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Re: Wonky Album Review

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Very curious about Paul getting the writing credit. Wonky and Beelzedub were the tracks that went off the map, right? If I remember correctly, they weren't originally meant to be in the album but were added towards the end (I believe Paul mentions a diversion in one of the videos).

I hope this isn't the case. It wouldn't take anything away from the album necessarily, but it would be somewhat disheartening to know that the mighty return of Orbital was largely a solo effort. :?

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