Submotion Orchestra – ‘Kites’ (Album Review)
Although we sometimes take it for granted in the streaming age, music is a luxury good. When Submotion Orchestra play, that fact becomes perfectly clear. Their albums always sound expensive, high-class cultural excursions made for the benefit not of the super-rich, but all of us mere mortals.
A couple of years back, Submotion Orchestra dropped Colour Theory, an album littered with guest vocalists and digitally tweaked to within an inch of its life. It was immense – but for SubMo, Colour Theory went far enough in that direction for comfort. On Kites, they’ve returned to a more classic writing approach, infusing their compositions with plenty of organic and spontaneous vibes born through the jam room and live recording process.
Since Submotion Orchestra have already sketched out their comfort zone’s boundaries, there’s not much to shock and surprise on Kites. But that’s not a bad thing when you bear in mind how damn awesome – and unique – a solid and reliable SubMo album is.
Besides, it’s been a while.
Languid grooves, subtly throbbing bass, infinitely inventive chords, gorgeous synth pads, and Ruby Wood’s immediately recognisable vocal will all be familiar to long-time Submotion Orchestra fans. Kites never disappoints – and some moments see SubMo hit yet more creative highs, weaving unpredictable and playful tracks with expected and requisite elements.
Sometimes a subtle touch stands out, as does the heavy sidestick employed during Variations. Night wins on the back of some fucking incredible dynamic work; title track Kites possesses one brilliantly orchestrated hook; Bridge and Tunnel are both beautiful instrumental expeditions, the latter’s near-military feel making it an ultra-tight highlight; and Own is my earliest favourite, featuring some chill-inducing trumpet parts. Closer Alone is an interesting final cut, anticipation constantly building until…
…I don’t want to spoil it. Let’s just say that Kites is all killer and zero filler from start to finish – and it should really be on sale for at least £79.99.
LTK RATING: 95% (Essential Listening!)
Kites drops March 9, and can be pre-ordered from iTunes here.
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