by Moby

Destroyed is the tenth studio album by Moby. But despite his longevity, you’d be hard pushed to name any more of them other than ‘Play’.

It was that album that took little ole Moby to a whole new level. Initially on its release, very little happened, but like the best kind of musical snowball, it went on to achieve well over ten million sales worldwide a year later. Its success was mainly due to the fact that every single track was used commercially; either for adverts, TV shows, films etc. In the early noughties, there was just no escaping him.

That was then, but this is now and quite frankly no-one gives a shit about Moby anymore. This album peaked at 35 in the UK album charts and 69 on the US billboard. Even a new Wombles album could probably chart higher than that.

But just because the world isn’t listening anymore shouldn’t mean an artist should just roll over and die. Or should it? Is Destroyed yet another nail in Moby’s career coffin, or does it prove that there’s still life in the old vegan yet?

boom - Moby Destroyed album image

The album opens in sombre mood with the instrumental ‘The Broken Places’. It’s a small introduction to the world of Moby, just in case you’re not familiar with it. It drifts easily enough from beginning to end, devoid of any real intentions.

Moby whips out his vocoder for ‘Be the One’ with its repetitive robotic vocals. Underneath them, a bed of signature Moby electronic instruments. There may have been a time when this sound was truly exciting, but now certainly isn’t it.

With ‘Sevastopol’, Moby pumps up his particular jam, as he creates a digital landscape for the ears; it’s a delicately layered wall of sound that is reminiscent of Moby of old.

‘The Low Hum’ is the first track to introduce pleasant vocals, which arrive just in the nick of time. It’s a little loose in places, as it dallies in an ambient corner once too often rocking its head quietly from side to side, but picks it up when it most needs to.

There’s even more familiarity with the arrival of ‘Rockets’. It follows a recognisable template, but it doesn’t make it any less pleasant an experience. Its soft synths and velvet vocals make it a highlight of the album.

The veggie one relies on his own vocal abilities on ‘The Day’, and doesn’t do that bad a job of it. The track itself also has more oomph about it, which it benefits from.

‘Lie Down in Darkness’ is very much in the vein of Moby at his best. It’s seemingly a fine line between getting it right and not, but this track ticks all the necessary boxes. Perhaps one of the reasons it works is due to its ability to soar in places.

The opening of ‘Victoria Lucas’ sounds as if its paying homage to that other king of electronica Jean-Michel Jarre. Despite the only vocal here being someone humming throughout, it still works. When the beat kicks in it also benefits from the drive that comes with it, making it that little bit more dancy and trancy.

‘After’ sees Moby singing again. This time though, he’s vocals just seem to get in the way of things. The track would have worked perfectly well as an instrumental, but with the added vocals, it all gets a bit cluttered. The track does just enough though to compensate for the odd weak vocal.

There’s a definite eighties vibe with ‘Blue Moon’; it’s full to the brim with keyboards and effects and he would have clearly been dressed in all black – possibly including an impressive polar neck – for his Top of the Pops appearance.

The pace is slowed right down with ‘The Right Thing’. Another guest female vocalist drapes her vocals over a laid back track. It has echoes of Morcheeba, musically at least, but not quite in the same league.

The strings come out for ‘Stella Maris’ which takes on the form of a requiem; it’s pretty enough, but it won’t help you find God.

Moby gets more than a little self indulgent with ‘The Violent Bear it Away’. It appears to be on an unending loop for nearly seven minutes. If you suffer from insomnia, this may well be the cure.

The longest track on the album is ‘Lacrimae’ that comes in at just over eight minutes long. It’s a long journey for sure, and suffers a little from the track before it in terms of its repetitive nature. And yet it’s quite a soothing melody that you’ll be happy to see through ‘til its end.

‘When You Are Old’ is the final track on this fairly long album. Even though it’s the shortest track on the album (2:18) it manages to feel at least double that.

As you might expect then, no real surprises. It’s as if Moby’s computers haven’t had a firmware update since 1999. Time has clearly stood still for the versatile musician, even if the world’s musical tastes haven’t. He really should have called this album Paused, as very little has changed since his Play days - except the quality.

Destroyed doesn’t really flow as well as it should, and suffers because of it. But who are we trying to kid, Moby was hardly ground-breaking back in the day. This is just another one of those albums that uninspired couples will put on to make out to. It’s pleasant enough to sit through while you enjoy a leisurely three-course meal in a restaurant, but unlike any leftovers, you wouldn’t necessarily want to take it home in a doggy bag.

As musical wallpaper goes however, there’s nothing offensive about this album. It just won’t make that great an impact on your life whether it’s on or not.

Moby sounds like an artist who has all but given up. And yet there are signs of life within Destroyed that maybe he’s still got one or two decent tracks in him. Just not necessarily on this album.

three out of five