Stereolab: Not Music

Categories: Review Roundup
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​That cool, crisp air outside means one thing: Winter will soon be upon us.

With winter comes the holidays and aforementioned cooler weather, as well as an eventual slow down of new releases. Next week's selection is downright frightening -- at least this week has a few choice gems, among them is London-based post/indie rockers Stereolab.

Their 10th studio album Not Music is released today. The album is filled to the brim with Stereolab's cherubic charm -- thanks to the transcendently light singing style of Lætitia Sadier. Sadier's vocals join the usual lounge-tinged keyboards and motorik beat -- a style that Stereolab coined when they first began some twenty years ago.

For a band that was the first to be truly labeled as "post-rock," Stereolab has kept things going solid since their inception in 1990. Not Music may have its momentary lapses, but fans of the band will feel right at home amongst the baroque-esque aural landscapes and, most importantly, Sadier's luscious vocals.

What the critics are saying:

Musicology: Their latest effort, Not Music is a collection of outtakes and remixes from 2008's Chemical Chords. To think of it as the Amnesiac to that record's Kid A wouldn't be too misleading, though Not Music is too jumbled and all over the map to ever work quite as cohesively as their best albums.

The Guardian: The niggling sensation that Stereolab work in a hall of mirrors, creating music that endlessly reflects upon itself, is stronger than ever here, especially when faced with Two Finger Symphony and Pop Molecules (Molecular Pop 2), both variations on themes released on Chemical Chords, both repetitive, insistent and faintly irritating.

Consequence of Sound: Everything is cool in Not Music land, and it's a welcome place to visit. The only thing that nags is that this may be the last we hear of Stereolab for a while. This isn't exactly the epic album to go out on, but it's definitely a good example of the band at its best, in the style and manner in which they left us.

Pop Matters: It's tempting to call Not Music a return to form, though that's hard to say because Stereolab never suffered a real drop off even after it was past its mid-1990s prime. The album is the stuff of futuristic nostalgia--or would that be nostalgic futurism?--that the band had patented long ago, but kept trying to perfect up to and apparently past its final days.

Not Music is out now via Drag City.


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