I'll keep it simple; there are few (if any) electronic bands that have been at the top of their game as long as Orbital, and have decided to close the curtains on their career after 15 glorious years with the excellent Blue Album.
As with every Orbital album though, there is the odd clanger (Bath Time, Easy Serv), but the good FAR outweighs the bad on the Blue Album, with the highlights including the paranoid 4/4 acid frenzy of 'Acid Pants', the classic-Orbital-sounding energy of 'You Lot' (featuring a marvellous philosophical rant courtesy of Chris Eccleston), the 6/8 classical splendour of album opener 'Transient', the lazy 'In Sides-esque' head music wonder of 'Lost', and the mother of all album enders with 'One Perfect Sunrise', which comes second only to the Brown Album's epic 'Halcyon'.
Overall, the Blue Album has a real 'thank god its all over' feel, which is understandable given the problems Phil & Paul had with London records had during the making of The Middle Of Nowhere and The Altogether, but this is not a bad thing, as the music is upbeat and really accessable. One of the great things about Orbital through the years is that they rarely sound like anyone else (except the odd New Order-ism, and other parts that remind you of Sasha, Something of a Paradox and FC Kahuna).
Save the two bum tracks, this album is as good as In Sides or The Brown Album. I really hope they will be back, but i'm also happy that they are leaving the dance/electro scene wth a quality album considering they have been a part of it for so long, when the usual case for a dying band is 'death by repetition'. Phil & Paul, We wish you well.