14 May 2013

Orbital - The Altogether



A man cannot live with guitars alone - well unless you are Jerm, but to his credited his does have a love of Public Enemy.  Orbital are a British dance duo from Sevenoaks in England, and consist of brothers Phil & Paul Hartnoll. Originally formed in 1989 they made albums until 2004 when they retired, but just like an old wrestler they came back in 2009.  They took their name from the M25 which was essential to the early rave scene which gave birth to the band.  I have not started at the beginning of their career; however I have started with the 6th album 'The Altogether'.  This band is responsible for a lot of people’s favourite Glastonbury festival moments and has always been on my list of 'People I need to buy more music of'.  I know I have listened to this album at one of my friend’s places, but what is it like in the cold light of day with the lights on....

Now I will go on record and say that this is not the best place to start with Orbital, which I will explain as I go along. Overall, the album is just a shade too long, yet the most interesting songs are at the later end of the album.  I have had this album on all night and day, and the more I listen to it, the more I can see a band who were trying to keep on doing what they did, but started looking over their shoulder slightly. At that point in 2001, they had been at the top of their game; they had made soundtracks, given award winning performances at festivals and were on everyone's most wanted list.  But from the top, you either level out or head down.  This album is just not as good some of the other work to be honest.

However, is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination - It is has some beautiful moments, such as "Meltdown", "Waving Not Drowning" (the most cheerful song I have heard in a long time) & "Doctor?" (a reworking of the Dr Who theme) - and the rest of the tracks are not a bad bunch. This album samples Ian Dury, Tool, The Trash men and even David Gray (the brother in law to the Hartnoll's) appears on the track "Illuminate" (it is a nice track). But I think that is what the problem is with this album.  It is just nice; it is not an album of men with fire in their bellies anymore.  The laurels have been rested on, and no matter how good the music is - once you are not fighting to make the music, it shows in the delivery.  This was their last album before their first break - it is worth listening to and pleasant enough, but not one of their most essential of records.

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

You can purchase from here

You can visit the Orbital website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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