An album and a singles collection at the same time, Fab Four Suture stitches together four limited-edition EPs Stereolab released in the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006. Over the years, the group has made a reputation for having EPs and singles -- and therefore, singles collections -- that are just as good, if not better, than their albums, as comps like Switched On and Aluminum Tunes attest. Stereolab has also always been very democratic about making sure fans can get their hands on nearly all of their more obscure releases in some form or another; while Fab Four Suture is a little different than their other collections in that it was designed to form an album upon the completion of the EP series, in terms of its quality, it's on par with the band's most enjoyable comps. By combining the looser, more experimental feel of their EPs with the album format, Fab Four Suture ends up being more organic-feeling than Stereolab's previous album, the lovely but occasionally distant Margerine Eclipse. Indeed, the best moments here are more immediate than anything the band has done in a long time. "Interlock" boasts funky brass and basslines that are echoed by "Excursions into 'Oh, A-Oh,'" a driving motorik with fiery guitars that recalls the glory of Transient Random Noise Bursts with Announcements. "Plastic Mile" and "Eye of the Volcano" are examples of their sparkling, delicately dramatic pop at its finest, while "Visionary Road Maps" is lovely and mysterious, changing gears two-thirds of the way through from a insistent yet somehow bittersweet groove to a slower, slightly spooky coda. The more experimental and downright playful moods of Stereolab are also represented, respectively, by "Widow Weirdo," a quick-shifting track that has an odd, almost ugly little guitar lick as its only constant, and the fizzy, revved-up "Vodiak." After hearing Fab Four Suture in its album form, the EPs tend to feel like puzzle pieces without any instructions; on their own EP, the two parts of "Kybernetica Babicka" felt slight and disappointing, but they work well as the album's opening and closing themes. Even more than Margerine Eclipse, Fab Four Suture sounds like Stereolab has adapted -- if not fully healed -- from the loss of Mary Hansen, and it's fitting that the group's first full-length album for Too Pure in over a decade finds them consolidating their strengths rather than completely reinventing their sound.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares