“Orbital have always been more groove oriented than the bulk of their ambient peers. On In Sides, the duo has incorporated elements of trip-hop and jungle, and the result is more melancholic than the housed-out bliss of Orbital’s earlier work.
Blame it on brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll’s ever-expanding discontent. While their last album, 1994’s Snivilisation, had them lashing out at a corrupt society, In Sides is about more personal politics, culling inspiration from environmental issues (“P.E.T.R.O.L.”), young war casualties (“Adnan’s”) and a dead friend (“The Girl With the Sun in Her Head”). Given such dire material, it’s fitting that the most danceable track is a 24-minute musing on aliens and the potential escape they symbolize. A limited-edition bonus disc includes several remixes and a 28-minute version of “The Box,” a spooky, noirish epic that sounds like Orbital’s homage to Portishead.
Elsewhere, it’s just Orbital conjuring images and words with rhythms and sounds, and making jungle’s fragmented break beats seem as graceful as the bossa nova.”