I don’t love Stereolab’s shtick though I get why lots of people do. So my mileage with them varies in so much as I can convince myself that the album is either important (because they probably pioneered their particular fusion) or how ti compares to the other albums of theirs I’ve managed to get around to listening to (even though (I’ve never loved them). I’m afraid I can’t get get enthusiastic about this one on either account. And my rating reflects the fact that these are competent musicians making their unique sound.
More than any other Stereolab album I’ve heard, this one doesn’t feel like it has enough good material. Moreover, it’s got to be one of the longest I’ve heard; at least it felt that way while listening to it. On every listen I was wondering why it wasn’t over yet and that is either a testament to its sheer length or a testament to the near-complete lack of (for them) quality material, or a bit of both.
But it’s well done otherwise, as is usual. As much as I don’t love this band, I cannot fault them for their creativity. They did something very weird (for the time in particular) that nobody else had thought of, and they do it here and they do it well (minus the lack of songs). The arrangements are full of the usual touches which should make this music more interesting and when I can put aside my boredom for a few minutes, I can totally understand why some people love this band.
For me, they will only ever be unique and I will probably always think the first album of theirs I heard is their best simply because I heard it first. They just don’t move me. And this one less so than the others.