Stereolab – Not Music (Duophonic) 15/11/2010

December 31, 2010 by  

It has been a year or so since London’s Stereolab last dusted off their synths and offered us more of their blend of colourful ‘Casio’ pop. 20 years on from their formation and as 2010 comes to a close, it is time for album number 15.

Not Music is the follow up to 2008’s Chemical Chords and for those who know and love the band, the latest album is very much a continuation of the Stereolab of old.

Opening with a jagged, if not dark number titled Everybody’s Weird Except Me, it is Lætitia Sadier’s familiar ‘Nico’esque voice which brings Not Music to life and signifies Stereolab’s return.

Track So Is Cardboard Clouds’ cocktail of catchy melody, recurring military drum part and key change all later combine to make this a particular stand out moment on the album.

Despite such praise at times there unfortunately is a lack of diversity between songs and whilst Not Music is a fine body of work, an element of predictability surrounds it. Ironically this is probably partly to do with the two most integral elements of the band, Sadier’s vocal and the band’s reliance on electronic keys.

That said the rather affectionately titled Two Finger Symphony deserves a particular mention for valiantly attempting to deal with said issue. It’s slight ‘Bond / Bassey’ chorus has a hint of grandeur about it, an adjective of course not necessarily associated within Streolab’s generally timid tones.

Track Equivalences’ ‘Kid A’ approach also provides some support in dispelling this matter of predictability by steering ‘Not Music’ towards the unconventional.

In a way it is comforting to know that Stereolab are still with us 20 years later and essentially introducing their efforts to a new generation. Whilst Not Music hardly sees the band take giant deviations from their trademark sound, for anyone looking to acquaint themselves with Stereolab’s lengthy career, this is probably a good a place to start as any.

[rating:3]


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