Former albums were either long and exploratory or dark and introverted, but always wrapped up in the Hartnoll's personal world. The Altogether, though, seems to take some cues from what's happening outside the dimly lit studio. On The Altogether, Orbital plays with friends as it makes playful references to pop culture. The brothers twist Tool samples on "Tootled" and tweak out the theme to seminal British sci-fi show "Dr. Who" much in the way they did the theme to The Saint a few years back. They throw in chants from "Surfin' Bird" and melodies from "The Twilight Zone." Singer/songwriter David Gray -- a relative of the Hartnolls by marriage -- guests on "Illuminate."
For the most part, Orbital is delving into happy memories instead of looking toward the future. So while The Altogether may be the band's most accessible album to date -- no 25-minute, nor many 10-minute, songs here -- it's not their most innovative, mind-blowing or altogether different.
Orbital plays EarthLink Live Fri., Oct. 5.