Stereolab + Laetitia Sadier – Not Music + The Trip

January 01, 1970

(Drag
City)

 

www.dragcity.com

 

Beautiful atmosphere and sonorous song don’t always make for
intrigue. Not loud intrigue at least. That’s alright, too. Certainly that credo
– that alright-ness – in its most pleasantly experimental form has guided the
starry lounge sound and career of Stereolab. 
As they round the corner to this its twelfth album, the question becomes
how to kid a kidder when they’re such a cool customer to begin with or how do
you make more quizzical that which is pretty quixotic? With that Not Music is
one of Lab rat Tim Gane’s tests involving improvised chord sequences played on
piano or vibraphone with tiny Krautrock-y rhythms and culled from the same Sean
O’Hagan sessions that yielded Chemical
Chords
.  It’s pop that Stereolab goes
for with its warm brass and un-cluttered clacking below the mist of its shining
melodies and it’s pop that they achieve on the self-explanatory likes of “Two
Finger Symphony” and “Laserblast.” Truly, they never sounded sweeter; weirder
yes, but not sweeter.

 

Laetitia Sadier, the other hypnotic Stereolab singing sister
who isn’t the late Mary Hansen, hasn’t necessarily trafficked in sweetness. Her
alto voice is steady, aloof but reedy. The theoretical girl’s lyrics have often
been testy and socio-polarizing. She’s played the solo game with her band
Monade before this. Yet, as a story about the suicidal death of Sadler’s younger
sister Noelle, the results are blunter and more direct. The Kraut-Lab sparkle
of “One Million Year Trip” is stark in its plain speaking manner. “I lost
someone precious,” she sings. From there her grief becomes an exercise with her
usual detachment part of the deal yet there’re so many more personal touches
too like the groovy nurturing “Natural Child.” Even the covers feel like an
inside message between Sadler and her lost sister. Very dear, indeed.

 

DOWNLOAD: Stereolab:
“Everybody’s Weird Except Me,” “Silver Sands,” “Aelita”; Sadier: “Statues Can Bend,”
“Natural Child,” “By the Sea” A.D. AMOROSI

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