It's a shame that in recent years, the magnitude of techno-heralds Orbital was scuttled by the wayside. Sure, 2001's The Altogether was lackluster, but who knew the undeservedly harsh reaction might've been the catalyst for the Hartnoll brothers' untimely dissolution?
Blue Album is the duo's swan song after 15 years, a fitting time capsule representing the duality of the spiritual high-energy epics of the past and the foreboding, complex song structures of its later work. Blue Album isn't a greatest-hits cop-out but original work that makes for a mostly compelling sonic narrative. Tracks like the thunderous, acid-squelched breakbeats of "You Lot" and "Tunnel Vision" evoke Orbital's In Sides and Middle of Nowhere eras, respectively, while the solemn synthetic lullaby "Lost" and the rapturous, post-rave beats on "One Perfect Sunrise" (featuring Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance) recall its early '90s glory with classics like "Halcyon" and "Belfast." Blue Album is not quite the masterpiece finale one would wish for but a strong exhibition that's hard for any Orbital fan to deny. -- Kiran Aditham
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.