Orbital has been one of my favourite electronica acts for a long time. I don’t have an original Chime 7″ (who has?) but have liked them since just after that time. I was disappointed when the Hartnoll brothers retired 8 years ago but given the small amount of lacklustre solo work that followed perhaps the time was right for a break. So I was excited to see that they have returned with their first new album for 8 years. On a first listen it seems to have most of the Orbital sound. The Hartnolls always seem to have had a knack for bringing a great deal of warmth into a genre of music which by its nature inclines towards the cold and austere or metallic edginess. Who else could make a feel good song about their mother’s addiction to anti-depressants?
I was a bit underwhelmed by the title track, but that is more due to not finding the guest vocal from Lady Leshurr particularly appealing than any particular failing in the track itself. The most immediate and immediately Orbitalish track is Stringy Acid. A welcome return but not, perhaps, a classic. The inclusion of a live setlist of “greatest hits” from performances in Australia sees to that as nothing in Wonky quite stands up to the older and more familiar works.