ACP Recordings (label)
14 September 2018 (released)
02 September 2018
Welcome back, Orbital - still Sevenoaks’ finest export, even after nearly three decades (on-and-off) of recording and touring. This is the Hartnoll brothers’ ninth album and second reunion, and although those numbers might not inspire confidence, the majority of ‘Monsters Exist’ suggests that this has been something of a much-needed fresh re-start for the duo.
Many of Orbital’s finest moments have a had a certain cinematic quality to them, and indeed, there are a fair few tracks here that could sit comfortably on the soundtrack to some kind of James Cameron-esque sci-fi epic. The eponymous opener and ‘The Raid’ are replete with cavernous, echoing beats, samples and synthesised strings on a widescreen scale, whilst the closing ‘There Will Come A Time’ features none other than Professor Brian Cox intoning darkly about the uncertain future of humanity and Earth.
They haven’t lost their sense of humour, though. ’Hoo Hoo Ha Ha’ is as gloriously silly as its name suggests; laden with parping horns and bouncing along at an almost ska-like rhythm, it’s like the happy medium between electronica and a Dixieland jazz band. Elsewhere, the lolloping beats and looped piano refrain of ‘Tiny Foldable Cities’ harks back to the band’s late-80s roots, and ‘The End Is Nigh’ layers keyboards over a hypnotic, laid-back funk workout to mesmerising effect.
According to Paul Hartnoll, the master plan for ‘Monsters Exist’ was “to make a bloody good album.” Well, it doesn’t quite recapture their ‘Snivilisation/In Sides’ heyday, but it certainly isn’t lacking in vitality, and - more importantly - will probably sound amazing live. Mission accomplished, mate.