When you have an album like Play in your discography (which sold over 12 million copies) and you’ve been around long enough to be classed as one of the pioneers of modern electronic music, you can do things a little bit different. The album Innocents is that little bit different. Released on the Little idiot label and recorded using a more analogue and low-fi production approach overseen by Mark “Spike” Stent, who has previously worked with Massive Attack, Bjork, U2, Muse and Madonna this is Moby’s most collaborative album to date. Featuring artwork by Moby himself (he’s a keen photographer) the latest offering from Moby is arguably one of the best albums of his career.
The opening track ‘Everything that Rises’ sets the mood for the album and by the time it’s halfway through you know you’re in for a dark and moody ride. Collaborations with critically acclaimed singer songwriter Cold Specks add an element of doom soul to the album and also resulted in the lead single from the album ‘A Case For Shame’. In fact collaboration is at the heart and soul of this album with seven of the twelve tracks being joint ventures. If you take the time to listen to each artists work without Moby and then listen to Innocents you quickly realise the mastery and magic that Moby and Mark Stent have added to this latest offering.
After you’ve listened to the album a few times and then actually start to listen to the lyrics a sense of duality emerges. On the one hand you have stirring and uplifting sounds that have become a trademark of Moby’s work and then you have the dark shadows cast by the words in the songs. Even Moby himself says, “Lyrics so dark I’m hesitant to say what they’re really about”.
It’s hard to write a review of Innocents without comparing it to Play, which was the soundtrack for a generation. Moby has managed to recreate the feel of Play by returning to retro-fitting archaic sounds and by working with Mark Stent, the first time Moby has used an outside producer, he has created an album that will create its own niche in music history as an epic and emotionally charged album. It’s not Play but you’d be mad not to give it at least a play or two.
http://www.moby.com/innocents – Released Oct 2013