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Orbital: Wonky

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Eight years after Blue Album - a record illustrious techno outfit Orbital hinted would be its last - the brothers Hartnoll have returned with the awfully named Wonky. Thankfully the contents of the album prove more palatable than the title, though the music doesn't nearly approach the power of the group's early-'90s heyday. Ethereal acid-fried trips like "Distractions" are enjoyable approximations of Orbital's best work but exhibit little to no staying power. The gimmicky "Beelzedub" is a dubstep-aping club banger that might fit on a video game soundtrack but feels incongruous when considered against the rest of the Orbital canon. Two disparate but interesting tracks feature vocals: "New France" is a high-energy rave-up featuring Zola Jesus, while the title track offers a glimpse at Britain's answer to Nicki Minaj in the fire-spitting Lady Leshurr. Wonky is a mixed bag that skews toward the substandard end of the spectrum. It's not an entirely triumphant comeback. (2 out of 5 stars)

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