The noughties was not a good era for the stadium dance groups of the previous decade. The likes of The Chemical Brothers, Prodigy and Orbital all struggled to re-define themselves following the massive success of their initial records. Yet, the last couple of years has seen a rejuvenation in quality from all of these acts – The Chemical Brothers delivered the wonderfully euphoric Further album, Prodigy returned with one of the greatest songs of their career – the mindmelting breakbeat-heavy ‘Omen’ and now, it’s the turn of the Hartnoll brothers. Thankfully, Wonky is their best album since Insides.
Although it’s impossible for Orbital to be as cutting-edge or as important as they were in their heyday, Wonky is jam-packed full of tunes that remind you exactly how awesome Orbital can be. They haven’t exactly attempted to reinvent themselves as chillwave or witch house or any other stupidly named contemporary dance genre – though ‘Beelzedub’ does borrow some dubstep wobbles. Instead, they’ve concentrated on what they do well, so the intense mechanical-sounding ‘Straight Sun’ wouldn’t feel out of place on Insides while the raveolushious ‘Stringy Acid’ could have sat comfortably on Orbital 2 (The Brown Album).
Pleasingly, the suitably monikered Wonky manages to restore the Orbital legacy, following a couple of under-par releases. But one can’t help feeling that this album won’t fully prove it’s magnificence until the bespectacled duo get to present these tunes to a massive field of heaving sweaty punters during festival season. Roll on the summer, it’s gonna be wonktastic.