Stereolab Sound-Dust

Retro futurists, Stereolab continue to explore '60s lounge pop and '70s Neu! groove to stunning effect, delivering their best album in years. While bandleader Tim Gane still dabbles in experimental composition, their ability to mix in classic song structures provides their best moments. Traditional pop arrangements like the orchestral rock-out at the apex of "Space Moth," the '70s piano banging that kicks off "Captain Easychord" and the classic pop vocal on "Nothing To Do With Me" prove completely satisfying when juxtaposed against their uniquely lush orchestrations. Unlike some of the band's more recent efforts, these songs are not merely exercises in style and form, but some of the best music of their career. The trademarks are still all here, including the swooning vocal interplay of Laetitia Sadier and Mary Hansen, Sean O'Hagan's big brass sequences, squelching analogue electronics and tight driving rhythms. Other collaborators this time around include like-minded experimental poptitian Jim O'Rourke, along with sonic craftsman extraordinaire John McEntire, of Tortoise. (Elektra)