On their 13th studio album, Dr Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlman craft a decent ambient-cum-dance music work with plenty of beats, burbling and wispy noises – much like their triumphs of old. Lee Perry’s sometimes off-key ramblings, however, don’t exactly enhance the mix. To be fair, Scratch sounds in better voice than he has on various live recordings of late, but his seven decades show in the quality and timbre of his vocals.
Hold Me Upsetter flows with an urgent groove but, once Perry starts up, it dissipates. Likewise Go Down Evil, which has a pretty impressive soundscape of hissing hip-hop beats, suffers from fuzzy vocals that don’t bear revisiting. Elsewhere, Police And Thieves – a take on Junior Murvin’s classic, produced by Perry at the height of his powers – deteriorates into a typical rambling dialogue after a particularly off-key start.
The Orb’s creative juices are, however, still flowing, and the music itself is mighty fine. Next time round they just need to find a vocalist who doesn’t sound like some old geezer from the pub, rather than the genius he once was.