Stereolab – Aluminum Tunes (Switched On, Volume 3) – Review


Aluminum Tunes (Switched On, Volume 3) (Drag City)
by Nik Rainey

At the rate Stereolab pumps out these rarities collections, one has to wonder whether the Marx-Moogs-and-magic collective allows themselves any sleep. (Granted, a few of the songs on this two-disc set sound as if they may have been written while under the influence of Morpheus, but they’ve mastered their dominion so well that even the pre-sets on their keyboards are pretty engaging.) Aluminum Tunes revisits the overspill left over from their Mars Audiac Quintet/Emperor Tomato Ketchup period, including radically different versions of tracks from those albums, limited-edition single sides, the heretofore unreleased, and the entire contents of the Music for the Amorphous Body Center EP (incidental music commissioned for an art installation).

Occasionally, the music comes self-parodically close to the musical equivalent of the Anglo-French silly walk (Le Marche Futile), but Stereolab’s pretensions are more charming than most bands’ virtues, so I have no qualms about adding a couple dozen more futuristic-thrift-shop ditties to the stack. Suggested Rainy-Day Activity: Demonstrate your allegiance to their leftist ideologies by marching up to your local record outlet and demanding this CD in exchange for wheat.
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