Orbital Music - 2004 - 52 minutes

'The Blue Album' is Orbital's final release. The band who are most emblematic of the 1990s music revolution have decided to call it a day, and it's tempting to describe it as the end of an era.

The duo came from the rave scene of the late 1980s, famously taking their name from the M25 ring-road that was the route to the illegal outdoor parties where it all began.

Just as that orbital road eventually loops right around to meet itself, so has Orbital's career, with the name, the tone and the design of this valedictory album referencing their debut 'Green Album' and its marvellous follow-up, 'The Brown Album'.

'Transient', a glorious string-drenched ray of sunshine that brings together Kraftwerk and Michael Nyman is one hell of a way to begin your final release. 'Tunnel Vision' and 'Pants' (song titles are not a strong point) are classic Orbital, stadium techno that's high-tempo without being frenetic, full of wide open spaces and dreamy horizons.

'Acid Pants' is too dull and predictable, generic festival gurn-fodder that's as lifeless as recent Chemical Brothers releases and 'One Perfect Sunshine', the intended climax of the album, also disappoints.

Memories of Orbital's live shows are probably their best testament, but this partial return to form sees them leave with a modest bang rather than a whimper.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Transient - Pants - Tunnel Vision - Lost - You Lot - Bath Time - Acid Pants - Easy Serv - One Perfect Sunrise