Europa 51 Abstractions

If asked to predict a band featuring former members of Stereolab, with contributions from the High Llamas, you’d probably end up with something that sounded a lot like Europa 51. Abstractions is one of those albums that really doesn’t offer much in the way of surprises. Andy Ramsay, Simon Johns and Steve Russell have kept to what they know best and that is both a blessing and a curse. The music is very unassuming and lacks personality in the way that a lot of soundtrack albums do. So when you discover that the CD also features a 25-minute short film that Europa 51 provide the soundtrack to, the blandness of the music (which might even be calculated) makes a lot more sense. For the most part, the music sounds like a cross between mid-career Stereolab and the heavily-orchestrated Llamas. There are some vocals on a few tracks, some of which are from the late Mary Hansen who contributes her usual ba-bas, again reinforcing the similar musical environment. Abstractions might not be the most exciting album around, but it is a very pleasant listen that demonstrates that even if Stereolab might no longer exist, the former members will probably keep making similar music for the rest of their careers. (Lo)