1993, Music

Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements (1993) by Stereolab

I am familiar with what one might call “peak” Stereolab, the sound of the band in the mid 19990s. They are not a band I particularly enjoy but they are a band I respect, given their pretty much utterly unique fusion of styles. (They basically have their own genre, in many ways. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there’s a whole section of 21st century indie pop heavily indebted to them. Or if that hasn’t happened yet, that it will soon happen.)

But I must say that I greatly prefer this “rawer,” less concise, less controlled, less immaculate version of the band. On this record they sound perhaps much more like a combination of influences than they do on later records, but they also sound more rough around the edges, less polished, less restrained. Their later music feels more calculated to me, rather than the result of goofing around.

I can see why a lot of people prefer that later music but the whole French chanteuse thing does nothing for me, so I’d rather listen to music that provokes my brain, which does more than their later stuff, for sure. (I mean, it’s all of a piece, for me, I can imagine getting excited about something like this in 1993, much more than I can imagine getting excited about Emperor Tomato Ketchup a few years down the road. This is more to my tastes, even if it isn’t really my taste.)

8/10

All tracks written by Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier.

  1. “Tone Burst” 5:35
  2. “Our Trinitone Blast” 3:47
  3. “Pack Yr Romantic Mind” 5:06
  4. “I’m Going Out of My Way” 3:25
  5. “Golden Ball” 6:52
  6. “Pause” 5:23
  7. “Jenny Ondioline” 18:08
  8. “Analogue Rock” 4:13
  9. “Crest” 6:04
  10. “Lock-Groove Lullaby” 3:38

  • Lætitia Sadier – vocals, guitar, Vox organ, Moog synthesizer, tambourine
  • Tim Gane – guitar, Vox organ, Moog synthesizer, percussion
  • Duncan Brown – guitar, bass, background vocals
  • Mary Hansen – vocals, guitar, tambourine
  • Sean O’Hagan – guitar, Vox and Farfisa organs
  • Andy Ramsay – bouzouki, Vox organ, percussion

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