The Null Device


Pitchfork's review of Stereolab's Margerine Eclipse sounds reasonably promising:

When the band released an uninspired Instant 0 in the Universe EP in 2003 (coming off their first year without new studio material since they started making records), it looked momentarily as if the train was stopping. Now, the notion seems funny because listening to bright, buoyant tunes like "Le Demeure" or the fantastic opener, "Vonal Declosion", reminds me that they'll probably keep going like this until they're gone.
The aforementioned "Vonal Declosion" rings in the new record with a flash and the trill of the Farfisa, as the bass dances below Sadier's well-worn rhythmic French nothings. What's more, as the band transitions into a section sounding ripped out of Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talking" and Mary Tyler Moore Show incidental music at once, supermarket strings enter on the left and reveal Stereolab's true calling for delivering Perfect Pop for Then People. "Cosmic Country Noir" pulls out the classic robotic Wurlitzer drum machine patterns for more antiqua-groove, though the main body of the song is more reminiscent of The Free Design than Kraftwerk.

I'll probably buy it when it comes out (by mail-order from the UK, given the local Warners subsidiary having contracted the Copy Controlled disease).

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Dream dollars from the lost Antarctic utopian colony of Nadira, complete with a lavish backstory combining elements of Victorian high adventure and pseudo-psychoceramic metaphysics.


The Graun reviews the upcoming Air album, Talkie Walkie:

Dunckel and Godin have never been reticent about their Gallic origins - Moon Safari's cover billed them as Air: French Band - but this really ups the ante. The duo's tremulous sank-'eaven-for-leedle-gulls accents would have been rejected as too caricatured by the producer of 'Allo 'Allo. There is a laudable bullishness about this decision. English-speaking countries have never really bought into vocalists with thick French accents, unless you count Charles Aznavour, and by comparison with Dunckel and Godin, he sounds like Chas and Dave. However, even the most committed Francophile would be forced to admit that the duo's voices are slightly distracting, particularly when deployed in conjunction with some of the album's more imponder able lyrics: "Stay like ziss, on ze 'airs of my chest," implores Run.
While music as diaphanous as Air's is unlikely to support the full-throated blast of, say, Robert Plant, Dunckel and Godin's voices are weedy enough to bring out the inner bully in the mildest soul. You suspect that even the members of Belle and Sebastian would consider pinching their lunch money and flushing their heads down the toilet for a laugh.

Other than that, though, the album apparently reclaims the territory of Moon Safari, which can't be a bad thing (I, for one, found 10,000Hz Legend underwhelming). Of course, since Air are signed to EMI, chances are it's not coming out on a non-defective CD around here. Maybe if they're still pressing Red Book-compliant CDs in the US, I'll get one from there.

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