Stereolab is the kind of band I love to write about because they inspire me to rethink language in order to accurately and to the best of my ability describe and express the abstract images and feelings they produce in my brain. Recently while listening to the band’s tenth full-length Margerine Eclipse, my mind fixated on a very specific arrangement of words: Science Fiction Romance. “What does that mean?” you might ask. I don’t know; the language here seems to function more as an emotive guide than a conceptual synopsis. But it’s a start.
On Eclipse, sounds and textures ooze with ultra-modern, salon-designed psychedelic colors and happy, swinging go-go rhythms — everything shimmering with that beautiful frosting of the familiar blips and bleeps ‘Lab fans have come to expect.
Laetita Sadler’s beautifully serene voice orbits planets of organ and moog, lush with landscapes of eclectic, wiry guitars. Sadler soothes us, inducing peace and a rich, savory audio experience the likes of which I doubt there is an accurate comparison for.
I won’t dissect individual tracks, for fear that I may damage the integrity of the album as a whole. However, two things warrant mentioning as an aside for completists. Track 3, ” … Sudden Stars,” and the final segment of Track 12, “Dear Marge,” are holdovers from Stereolab’s recent EP, Instant 0 in the Universe. This is not a complaint on my part; both tracks’ presence here is not only logical, but welcome in the context of the entire work.
Like many of the ‘Lab’s albums, Eclipse flows in epic length and constitution, rising and falling like the tide of an alien analogue ocean on some distant, digital world. Albums like this may sometimes be hard to sit and listen to “cover to cover,” but the songs stand strong on their own as well. And when you do get the chance to douse yourself with the whole thing in one sitting, it makes for a genuinely satisfying experience.