Reviews

Orbital “Optical Delusion” Album Review

Optical Delusion

Orbital

  • Genre: Electronic
  • Date: 17 Feb, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Region: UK
  • Track(s): 10
  • ℗ 2023 Orbital Recordings Ltd. distributed by London Music Stream Ltd.

Orbital is the duo whose sound will live on in the annals of rave culture. Tracks like ‘Chime’ and ‘Belfast,’ which harken back to the ‘Acid House Era’ period, have unquestionably altered nightlife and culture for future generations. Their sound, along with that of a few other prominent artists, caused hundreds to abandon their guitars in favor of decks and samplers, transforming the country into a nation of baggy trousered philanthropists swarming to fields for days on end. Indeed, this is a fantastic return to the rave.

Album Art

Orbital &Quot;Optical Delusion&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, February 24, 2024
Rolling Stone

The album art is as cocky and creative as it can get in the history of album art. How the artists came together with this creative piece of expression is mind-blowing. This ‘object’ in question is an artistic representation of talent and brilliance all wrapped in the chaotic ensemble of everyday shenanigans.

The ‘object’ seems to depict a being -though upside down and wearing a “crown”, that is beginning to outgrow its present location and is daring to move on to greater as the space it is being held in is now small compared to all it possesses. This can be interpreted as the duo sending a message to their adoring fans and anyone who cares to listen that their over three decades of professionalism has seen them “fill up the room” and as such, they may be moving on to something else -who knows, maybe this tenth studio album may be their last. As the name implies, this may indeed, be an optical delusion.

Tracks And Features

Optical Delusion is a magnificent 10-track album that will have you reaching for the replay button before you’ve even finished your first listen. Optical Delusion contains previously released singles such as the BBC6 Music playlisted lead single, “Dirty Rat” with Sleaford Mods, “Ringa Ringa (The Old Plague Folk Song)” with the Mediaeval Baebes, and their most recent single from the LP, “Are You Alive?” with Penelope Isles.

It opens with “Ringa Ringa” featuring Mediaeval Baebes, moves on to “Day One” featuring Dina Ipavic and sets the tone for the rest of the listening journey.

‘Dirty Rat,’ by Sleaford Mods vocalist Jason Williamson, is a punchy lead single with overtly politicized lyrics and a signature rage-smeared vocal delivery. The song originated as a remix swap (Orbital remixed the Sleafords’ ‘I Don’t Rate You’). The result is a no-nonsense track, two thumbs up to “the folks who are “blaming everyone in the hospital/blaming everyone at the bottom of the English Channel/blaming everyone who doesn’t look like a fried animal.”

Anna B Savage, a London singer-songwriter, delivers a profoundly sensitive vocal to ‘Home,’ in which nature reclaims sun-scorched abandoned megacities. ‘Day One’ is a throbbing techno single featuring the singer Dina Ipavic, the result is a bass-drenched dreamscape with airy vocals that reach the heights of ‘Belfast’.

“Are You Alive?” sees the duo collaborate with studio pal Penelope Isles. Lily Wolter’s vocals take center stage in what sounds like a life-affirming composition that smoothly touches on the existential crises we all experienced and continue to experience during the pandemic. Lily discusses the humdrum lives we frequently find ourselves locked in, not wanting to “get fucked in a working environment,” but also posing existential concerns (‘Are We Here?’, ‘Where Is It Going?’).

“Requiem For The Pre-Apocalypse” is music full of defiant ecstasy, and its restless nature will undoubtedly make waves with the album’s release and blow live audiences away. The record seems to build up to this track, with longing, doubt, and insecurity all temporarily abandoned for one explosion of pure bliss.

“Moon Princess” featuring Coppe closes the  51:07 seconds listening journey and will have you wondering where Paul and Phil Hartnoll were when they wrote and composed this album.

Tracklist

NO

TITLE

ARTIST

TIME

1 Orbital Ringa Ringa (The Old Pandemic Folk Song) [feat. The Mediaeval Baebes] Orbital 4:13
2 Day One (feat. Dina Ipavic) Orbital 5:16
3 Are You Alive? (feat. Penelope Isles) Orbital 7:49
4 You Are the Frequency (feat. The Little Pest) Orbital 4:38
5 The New Abnormal Orbital 5:04
6 Home (feat. Anna B Savage) Orbital 5:18
7 Dirty Rat Orbital & Sleaford Mods 5:16
8 Requiem for the Pre-Apocalypse Orbital 5:20
9 What a Surprise (feat. The Little Pest) Orbital 3:51
10 Moon Princess (feat. Coppe) Orbital 4:18

Album Summary

Optical Delusion is a moving depiction of our most claustrophobic period. It’s an album that acknowledges our collective apprehension while charting a course forward. Orbital’s new sound solidifies its position at the forefront of electronic music.

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