Stereolab, Aluminum Tunes (Drag City)

Posted December 31st, 1998 by admin

Aluminum Tunes
Drag City
By: Eric G.

Aluminum Tunes compiles three LPs worth of rare tracks from this extremely prolific London-based band. If you’re already familiar with Stereolabs moog-drenched blend of Kraut-rock, Marxism, and 60s futurism, this compilation is an essential addition to your (by now) extensive collection; however, this is not the place to start for potential converts. These songs are culled from random periods in the bands progression and are not all representative of the level Stereolab has reached with its past few albums.

As is the case with most compilations, this one is uneven. The first few tracks were previously available as the soundtrack to a sculpture show by Charles Lang entitled Music For The Amorphous Body Study Center, in which each piece was to be experienced with headphones because each song was written specifically for a corresponding sculpture. These particular tracks hold their own without any visual aid, but as a whole this album reveals too much. Weird experimental digressions would be better left in the vault, but all six sides contain flashes of brilliance.

Laetitia Sadiers voice is Stereolabs most consistent variable. Her appeal is undeniable however vexing. She maintains a precarious poise of boredom and giddiness with her droning vocal dynamic that seamlessly glides between French and English. Stereolab pushes the envelope of its own predetermined boundaries on this collection that, despite its faults, truly represents the band as a seminal force.

Tags: review