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Stereolab, ‘Chemical Chords’ (4AD)

Driven by compact compositions and sprightly tempos, the ninth proper album in this otherworldly English act’s sprawling catalog is their most blatantly bouncy. The unabashedly poppy tunes and Motownish beats are fleshed out with typically disciplined string and horn arrangements, but this time the summery results shine with unexpected passion that heats up even Lætitia Sadier’s impenetrable bilingual cool. Curmudgeons may miss the random noise bursts of yesteryear’s guitar drones, but the regenerated joy in these gorgeous grooves cannot be denied: Stereolab are happy again.

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Tags: Albums