The First of the Micobe Hunters (Elektra)

Stereolab 

The First of the Micobe Hunters (Elektra)

Stereolab is finally making a return to the cocktail disco of 1996's Emperor Tomato Ketchup after the mixed results of a two-album visit to the land of cold and sterile loungy electronica. As such, it's also the first new Stereolab disc in some time to really groove. Vibraphones kick things off, and though they were previously used to mind-numbing effect on Cobra, here they chime, driving the ditties home rather than just aimlessly chauffeuring them around. As per usual, songs are lengthy and repetitive, though they rarely feel that way, because there are so many other whatsits buzzing around the exotic rhythms. When one listens to the record, the mind frequently boggles as to where the past seven minutes went, and that is no small feat when dealing with music of this kind. If nothing else, Microbe Hunters is a welcome return to form for Stereolab, even if the world never knows exactly what that entrancing form is specifically supposed to be.

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