Wonky (album)

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Studio album by
Released2 April 2012
RecordedJanuary–November 2011
ProducerOrbital and Flood
Orbital chronology
Blue Album
Monsters Exist
Paul Hartnoll chronology
The Ideal Condition
Singles from Wonky
  1. "New France"
    Released: 27 February 2012
  2. "Wonky"
    Released: 21 April 2012
  3. "Where Is It Going?"
    Released: 27 August 2012
  4. "Beelzedub"
    Released: 7 December 2012

Wonky is the eighth studio album by Orbital, released on their own ACP label (via Warner Music Group/Alternative Distribution Alliance) in the UK on 2 April 2012, and exclusively through iTunes in the USA and Canada on 17 April 2012. The album is their first since the Blue Album in 2004 and the first since they reformed in 2008. It features vocals from Zola Jesus and Lady Leshurr.[1] The album was taken off of Spotify and iTunes in the United States for unknown reasons. There are some songs you cannot find at all in their original versions, like Beelzedub or Distractions.

Wonky debuted at number 22 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 8,001 copies in its first week.[2] This was their highest position on the album chart since 2001.


Following their reformation and successful comeback shows, Orbital decided that they needed to write new material to include in their live shows.[3][4] The album was recorded mostly using vintage and analogue synthesisers between January and November 2011[4] in Brighton[3] where the Hartnoll brothers both live, and the producer Flood was brought in to help with the mixing.

The album's title is, according to Paul Hartnoll, a reference to the fact that "we've never really fitted in".[3]


The track "Never" was released as a free download from the official Orbital site in January 2012. An edited version of "New France" was released as the first single on 27 February 2012 as a single track download,[5] with a remix EP released on 19 March 2012 featuring remixes from L-Vis 1990, Tom Middleton and The Hydraulic Dogs. The title track was released as the second single on 21 April 2012. "Where Is It Going?" was released as the third single on 27 August.


Wonky was released as a CD album, a double CD album, a vinyl LP and as a digital download. The double CD album includes a second disc featuring five tracks recorded live in Australia in 2011.[6] The iTunes Deluxe version also features two music videos for "Never" and "Straight Sun".[7]

Track listing[edit]

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9 written by Paul Hartnoll. Track 7 written by Paul and Phil Hartnoll. Track 4 written by Paul Hartnoll and Nika Roza Danilova. Track 8 written by Paul Hartnoll, Phil Hartnoll and Melesha O'Garro

  1. "One Big Moment" – 6:16
  2. "Straight Sun" – 5:28
  3. "Never" – 4:43
  4. "New France" (featuring Zola Jesus) – 4:47
  5. "Distractions" – 7:04
  6. "Stringy Acid" – 5:19
  7. "Beelzedub" – 4:54
  8. "Wonky" (featuring Lady Leshurr) – 6:13
  9. "Where Is It Going?" – 5:50
  • Note: "Beelzedub" is a remix of their early '90s song "Satan".

Deluxe Edition bonus disc[edit]

Tracks written by Paul and Phil Hartnoll except Belfast written by Paul Hartnoll, Phil Hartnoll and Hildegard.

  1. "Lush" (Live in Australia) – 10:22
  2. "Impact" (Live in Australia) – 19:17
  3. "Satan" (Live in Australia) – 8:37
  4. "Belfast" (Live in Australia) – 7:38
  5. "Chime"/"Crime" (Live in Australia) – 13:02
  • Note: Although uncredited on the track listing, "Impact" segues into the track "Remind".
  • Vocal samples for this version of "Satan" are from the 1968 film "The Devil Rides Out"


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3.5/5 stars[8]
BBC Musicvery favourable[9]
DIY4/5 stars[10]
Drowned in Sound8/10[11]
The Independent3/5 stars[12]
Mixmag3/5 stars[13]
Mojo4/5 stars[14]
MusicOMH4/5 stars[15]
Pitchfork Media7.5/10[17]
Q4/5 stars[19]

The album received generally favourable reviews. The aggregrated score from 20 reviews on Metacritic gave it an average of 74/100.[21]

Many critics felt that Wonky was Orbital's best album in some time. Drowned in Sound wrote "Well here's something I never thought I'd ever write again: the new Orbital album is great", and went on to say that Wonky was "the best record Orbital have made in the past 15 years and up there with their very best".[11] Mojo said "the best Orbital album since 1994's Snivilisation? Certainly".[14] Steve Price (writing on the Orbital website Loopz) reviewed the album on 4 February 2012 and said "...after many weeks of listening, I feel this is probably one of the best Orbital albums since In Sides".[22] MusicOMH stated "as it turns out, this is not a duo in the last throes of their musical lives – rather it marks the beginning of a new and potentially very exciting chapter for the Hartnoll brothers".[15]

The NME said "Wonky has reconnected them with the lush spirit of their first and second albums".[16] Allmusic said "it feels a touch forced, but what remains clear is that the Hartnolls still have the ability to make magic more than 20 years after their debut".[8] BBC Music said "nobody would expect an eighth album by a band 20-plus years into its career to sound this fantastic, but time away has obviously helped re-energise the brothers into crafting this triumphantly grand return".[9] Pitchfork said "it's not perfect, but it is an unexpectedly great comeback album".[17] Mary Chang of This is Fake DIY suggested Wonky was "further proof that Orbital aren’t content to stand still and rest on the laurels that have made them ones to watch at festivals."[10]

Martyn Cooling of Faux Magazine said "despite the terrible name and the altogether confusingly placeless lead single (of the same name), the album is a complex yet completely solid piece of work that will remind listeners of the early 90's techno-film-score Orbital and their self titled first albums, rather than the latter day The Altogether & Blue Album era".[23]

Tony Vilgotsky of Mir Fantastiki gave the album 9 points of 10, having said that this is a "bizarre and strange record from the electronic music's patriarchs, one of the most notable releases of the year".[24]


  1. ^ Pelly, Jenn (19 January 2012). "New Release: Orbital: Wonky". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  2. ^ Jones, Alan (9 April 2012). "Official Charts Analysis: Katy Perry album hits 1m sales, Nicki Minaj LP shifts 47k in debut week". Music Week. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Rogers, Jude (16 April 2012). "The Brothers Gonna Work It Out: Orbital Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b Torrance, Craig (27 March 2012). "Q&A: Orbital". Mixmag. London, England: Development Hell. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  5. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/new-france-feat.-zola-jesus/id503910048
  6. ^ "Release: Orbital:Wonky". loopzorbital.com. 9 February 2012.
  7. ^ "iTunes Album Info". Apple. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  8. ^ a b Bush, John. Orbital: Wonky > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  9. ^ a b Wade, Ian (28 March 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". BBC Music. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  10. ^ a b Chang, Mary (1 April 2012). "Orbital – Wonky". This is Fake DIY. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b Thomas, Sean (2 April 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  12. ^ Gill, Andy (30 March 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". The Independent. London, England: Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  13. ^ Worthy, Stephen (21 March 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". Mixmag. London, England: Development Hell. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Review: Orbital – Wonky". Mojo (May 2012). p. 87.
  15. ^ a b Hogwood, Ben. "Review: Orbital – Wonky". MusicOMH. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  16. ^ a b Doran, John (30 March 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". NME. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  17. ^ a b Harvell, Jess (4 April 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  18. ^ Garratt, John (10 April 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". PopMatters. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  19. ^ "Review: Orbital – Wonky". Q (May 2012). p. 103.
  20. ^ Walters, Barry (4 April 2012). "Review: Orbital – Wonky". Spin.
  21. ^ "Wonky reviews". Metacritic.com. 6 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Review: Orbital:Wonky". loopzorbital.com. 4 February 2012.
  23. ^ "Orbital – Wonky". ireadfaux.com. 31 March 2012.
  24. ^ Tony Vilgotsky. Review of Orbital's Wonky