Early in their career, the Orb were accused (but never proven) of releasing a series of bootleg trance mixes of Pink Floyd albums, and the group had plenty of other Floydian references too -- most obviously, the Battersea Power Station appeared or was parodied on several of their releases. The connection only became direct, though, in 2009, when David Gilmour recorded a version of the Graham Nash single "Chicago" with help from producer Youth, an occasional member of the Orb going back to the early '90s. It was a charity single to aid accused hacker Gary McKinnon, but it became the springboard for further collaboration one year later, after Orb main man Dr. Alex Paterson, became involved. Metallic Spheres is the result, a 49-minute odyssey that is very intentionally split up into only two tracks. The Orb fans and Pink Floyd fans should have no trouble with this album. In fact, Orb fans will find more resemblance to their classic early-'90s sound than ever; that is, less dense soundworlds and more skeletal groove-riding over a lazy 4/4 beat. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd fans looking for the imprint of the master will find them everywhere: Gilmour's guitar or lap steel, and rarely, his vocals (sampled from "Chicago") feature all over this record, mostly reminiscent of either the countrified haze originally heard on Meddle or the, well, spacy haze on The Dark Side of the Moon. Boasting few landmarks, the record simply rolls along with all the sublime calm of The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld or the "Echoes" portion of Meddle; each artist sounds averse to taking any chances, which prevents anything truly exciting from occurring. The only hint of intrigue comes 40-odd minutes into the record, when Youth takes up his mighty bass for "Chicago Dub," which briefly changes the pace for the better.
AllMusic Review by John Bush