WHEN I LOOK UP AT THE SKY / ON THE RIGHT ROAD / ON THE RIGHT ROAD DUB / REGGAE PARTS THE SEA / MUMBAI BLUES DUB / I KNOW YOUR HERE / IT ALL FADES AWAY / OCEAN OF HILLS / GARDENS OF SUBURBIA / BEYOND UPPER POYNTON / I WANT / THE DECLINE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY / BEYOND THOUGHT / ALPHA ONE THREE / FROM SILVERTOWN / TO HEATHROW CARGO, A PARCEL / VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS / THE WHEEL OF LIFE / LOOKING UP AT THE SKY AGAIN / PARTS THE SEA DUB
Running Time: 67:04
review by Scott
M, July 2006
© 2006 Fodderstompf.com / F&F Publishing
"The road to enlightenment please. And I want to stop for egg and chips on the way…"
Wobble's latest album takes us on a slightly autobiographical journey, partly inspired from writing his memoirs. "Alpha-One-Three" was Wob's radio call-sign during his sabbatical's as a mini-cab driver in the Eighties; when quite literally the wheels came off his musical career. How things change. Every year sees him become more and more self-sufficient and separate from the "Dark Society". This album has him taking things to logical extremes by writing, performing, producing, and engineering the whole thing himself. 30 Hertz is the Good Life.
'Alpha-One Three' has a vibe reminiscent to a 'Without Judgement' Invaders of the Heart. Dramatic in places, but with a laid back – dare I say – summer feeling, laced with choral vocals. Working on his autobiography inspired many of the lyrics. Evocative images of desolate council estates and suburban gluttony are mixed with tongue-in-cheek tales of record company debauchery. And ultimately, death. Full circle.
The vocals and lyrics can be raw, even awkward in places, but this helps give 'Alpha-One Three' its characteristic, human edge. It's possibly Wobble's most varied vocal work. From the soulful 'I Know Your Here' to the fuzzy warbles of 'It All Fades Away' & 'Alpha-One-Three'. Through the spoken word of 'The Decline of the Music Industry', and the mantra of 'The Wheel of Life'.
Musically, the album is not a complete departure from previous 30 Hertz sounds, but adds a fresh twist. Although many tunes are two parter's, or resurface from time to time, the album jumps from style to style. Reflecting Wobble's ongoing musical journey. The opening track 'When I Look Up at the Sky' is a groovy jazz rocker. 'Reggae Parts The Sea' is almost a theme song for the album. It's noisy background and traffic-like horns give it a 'sound of the city' feel. The Taxi that's guiding Wob's journey, so to speak. 'Gardens of Suburbia' borders on techno. 'Voice in the Wilderness' has a roots rockers feel; complete with melodica.
Horns, strings and synths are used in various degrees throughout the album. While the bass sound is as varied as the vocals. 'Beyond Thought' & 'To Heathrow…' are heavy – and I mean – heavy bass. 'On the Right Road' and 'When I Look Up at the Sky' use funkier approaches. Whereas, 'Alpha-One-Three' & 'From Silverton' have unusual, but distinctive, treated overdubs. The sparse 'I Know Your Here' has no real bass line at all. There's always been more to Wobble's style that just low-end…
The sleeve features striking comic-book style artwork from John Freeman, along with liner notes taken from Wob's forthcoming autobiography. Although just a taster – covering his childhood in London's East End and his nightly forays into cabbing – the excerpts highlight Wob's unique mixture of realism, mysticism and humour. And we look forward to the whole story with keen interest…
With 20 tracks – clocking in at over an hour – the album covers a lot of ground. However, it will take you where you want to go, and you can guarantee there will be no surprises with the fair.
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