By Rob Crozier
October 8, 2013
Moby, for years the acceptable soundtrack for non-rave advertisers, is back with a new 12 track album Innocents. After the huge success of Go, Moby became a household name – yet this album feels like he has not moved too far away from his tried-and-tested methods of production. His new album opens in familiar vein with ‘Everything That Rises’, a lifting, moody synth-based track in the traditional Moby mould. However you feel that with this album that Moby has cast his net too far in search of a mass appeal, and the album suffers from a lack of any form of creative direction. This is certainly true of the beginning of the album, although it does get steadily better as the album moves on.
The early tracks feature slow, haunting vocals and you start to feel that Moby has pulled in a few favours in an attempt to pep up a rather obvious, slightly dull album with some powerful songbirds. It feels as if he’s desperate to write a classical electronic album; unfortunately these first four tracks appear endless in their construction. They float around with no sense of purpose. Yes, they’re beautifully constructed, and for some they’ll suffice, however the soaring synths and strings feel lazy and unfortunately rather boring.
‘The Perfect Life’ provides a slight return to the Moby formula and at least feels like the combination of a guest vocal (via Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips) along with uplifting gospel backing vocals kick starts the album into life. The album continues in a more traditional Moby vein as soft vocals accompany sampled blues vocal in ‘The Last Days’.
The album continues it recovery through ‘Don’t Love Me’ with a more pop conscious feel of a straight song of rejection, with driving hip-hop beats pushing the album along. ‘Saints’ continues Moby’s return with a combination of classical strings over deep bass beats more in line with his previous works. Beats and samples have always been his strength. You wonder why the first four tracks of the album are here at all if this is what Moby is capable of.
Moby’s classical sensibilities are evident throughout the album – he’s obviously an extremely talented composer – and when he uses these with vocals, samples and modern bass lines he produces some wonderful work. This album does have touches of greatness about it; the track featuring guest vocals from Mark Lanegan, ‘The Lonely Night’, is evidence of this. Its use of upfront slow-paced vocals with soft moving strings is calming and hypnotic. ‘The Dogs’ closes the album beautifully with a haunting melodic sound which sways perfectly in an almost Bowie-like sounding five minute synth spectacular. But, in my opinion, just skip the beginning to get to the good stuff.