Submotion Orchestra
Alium


4.5
superb

Review

by RivalSkoomaDealer USER (19 Reviews)
November 25th, 2014 | 51 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another damn near perfect album to keep me warm through the next few chilly months.

It's getting cold outside-an inevitable symptom of the coming winter months in southern Kentucky. I usually associate this time of year with staying cooped up in my room, working on whatever piece of literature is devouring my attentions at the time. But I also associate winter with certain styles of music: specifically jazz, dub, ambient, and trance. For me, these sounds embody the very spirit of what winter is for much of the world: cold, gray, and somber. The music of Submotion Orchestra infamously meshes elements from electronic dub, r&b, soul, and jazz music into a sound that goes down as smoothly as sipping from a warm beverage of choice during these long, chilly months.

After the release of a somewhat by-the-numbers (yet still quite adequate) EP entitled '1968' last year, Submotion Orchestra are back with an album that sees them further refining their sound into what is some of their most vibrant and organic compositions to date. “Awakening" kicks the record off with an impressively layered use of drum and bass before SO's signature incorporation of trumpet enters the fray. The track provides the album with a grandiose instrumental introduction that will undoubtedly translate well into the band's live set. It seems that the band sought to make every aspect of this record a little bit bigger than previous installments, with a keen attention to how it will sound once performed. "Time Will Wait" is a treat because it provides the listener with their first new dose of Ruby Wood's emotionally evocative vocal performances. Wood continues to improve here, calling forth the ability to croon her voice in the most soulful of ways. If you want proof, just listen to her hypnotic verses on the track "Rust" and tell me that's not some of the most memorable moments of her vocal career thus far.

The band incorporates the use of trumpet more freely here. Instead of hearing Bobby Beddoe’s trumpet occasionally soloing through the bridge of a track, you will find it weaving its way through almost all of the compositions much more frequently. Putting emphasis on the trumpet pays off in dividends, as it was one of the most unique and acclaimed aspects of their sound. “Victim of Order” for example uses trumpet subtly throughout the track to further elevate Wood’s gorgeous chanting of “dry your eyes, dry your eyes, dry your eyes.” Tracks like “Life After” and "Rust" work in much the same fashion.

There is truly something for just about everyone to be found here, whether you crave the free flowing jazz instrumentation of “The Hounds,” the lumbering, bombastic dub instrumental of “Chrome Units,” the soulful yet popish sensibilities of “Trust/Lust,” or the emotional sparseness of “Rust.” “Bring Back the Wolf” happens to be one of the most surprising moments on the record, showcasing one of the band's most experimental soundscapes yet. Finest Hour opened so many musical gateways to new genres of music that I’ve since come to gain a deep appreciation for. It has been a joy to see this band evolve so quickly and effectively in the years since then. Alium is a transitional record that might, given time, sit neck and neck with some of the most memorable pieces from their first two offerings. Until then, I’m left with another damn near perfect album to keep me warm through the next few chilly months.



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user ratings (73)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
RivalSkoomaDealer
November 25th 2014


1645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Trust/Lust" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zck3wHWKAvA



"City Lights" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeaA7mJZne4



Been out of the review game for a minute. Good to be back. This album is so perfect right now. Might have to bump that rating up a bit, as everything they've ever done has inevitably grown on me.



What did y'all think? =D

Keyblade
November 25th 2014


30678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was planning on reviewing this, but good to see it rev'd. I prolly would never have got around to it lol.



Album is incredible, possibly their best yet

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 25th 2014


1645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its tricky because they're all so gooooood.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2014


32289 Comments


Should have a review for this before the end of the week

Jots
Emeritus
November 26th 2014


7561 Comments


"I'm sure I'm not alone"
"cold, gray, and somber. The music"

good review man, pos. nice blend of causal talk with solid descriptions. enjoyable read

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 26th 2014


1645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks!! Will fix as soon as I get back to a PC.

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 26th 2014


1645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dev your Finest Hour review is what turned me on to these guys in 2011...so thanks for that!

Calc
November 26th 2014


17334 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holy shit i knew itd be skooma cat who reviewed this first!!!!

Jots
Emeritus
November 26th 2014


7561 Comments


I think the release date you have is wrong. isn't this supposed to be one of this week's releases?

PappyMason
November 26th 2014


5702 Comments


A good read, pos.

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 26th 2014


1645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Whoever added the album to the database must have been confused. =/



Really? Howd you know Calc??

Winsomniac
November 26th 2014


8831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This album is so damn sexy.

Eloriaz
November 26th 2014


776 Comments


Wow, didn't even know they had a new album for this year! Sweet. Looking forward to give this a listen.

Winsomniac
November 26th 2014


8831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Also, where did the button go to dig this? I haven't sputnik'd in a while...

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 26th 2014


1645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its in the sound offs.

Winsomniac
November 26th 2014


8831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Boom! Found it. Ugh, this is blowing me away. I might actually just review this just to have a blurb for my opinions.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2014


32289 Comments


Whoever added the album to the database must have been confused. =/


No

This site operates off of US release date whenever possible, and Alium was released there on the 25th. That's why it appears in the new releases post on the blog for this week. I changed it to the 25th, and I just now changed it back to the 25th

Relinquished
November 26th 2014


48703 Comments


now change it again to the 25th before it changes back to the 25th

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2014


32289 Comments


I'll change you to the 25th in a minute

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 26th 2014


1645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well thanks for clarifying.



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