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CD Pre Review: Alium by Submotion Orchestra


The Leeds seven-piece return with their third album, this time on Ninja Tune’s new imprint. Successful festival appearances across the UK & Europe has grown their audience at the boutique niche arenas such as Latitude and The Big Chill. Will this release garner a larger following?

Album opener “Awakening” announces its breakbeat intensions with Close Encounter brass parps, before filling the space with bright arpeggiated riffs and a lovely horn melody. Jubilant yet poignant strings are plentiful. A cracker.

The majority of the album showcases the emotive vocals of Ruby Wood, who reminiscent of Tracey Thorn supports the dubstep influences heavy throughout the platter. Many time she carries the music, which is no bad thing and particularly for this soulful nu- jazz, which could at times fall flat without her heartfelt missives.

Chrome Units” is the stand out track musically, with ping-pong FM synths and a glissando bassline which promises more experimental electronica from the band.

The tracks canter forward with some delightfully lazy, and stuttering drum breaks and rising hi-hat playfulness, but never seems to find a gallop in it’s pace which would give the album some needed peaks (more Lake District than Pyrenees).

The balance of lush orchestration and electronica is reminiscent of those coffee table albums much feted in the late 90’s, soft, romantic and unchallenging. However, with enough production stylistics and a clear nod towards more contemporary electronica, this will clearly please the mature iTunes purchaser and will sound great on their Sonos.


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Andrew Thompson

I’ve had music in my veins almost as long as blood. Continually thriving on new found sounds, I am usually around lost in music on many dance floors across the country and Europe. Electronic music has been my passion since my first New Order 12”, and currently enjoying the renaissance of analog noises and kicks and claps in a slowed down 4/4 tempo.