Mouse on Mars

Cache Coeur Naif EP

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In 1997, while American bands were struggling to incorporate the trendy gadgetry of electronica into their acts and major labels were running around trying to sign their own private Chemical Brothers, many of the European scene's more stalwart experimentalists (Aphex Twin, Warp Records, Mark Van Hoen, Witchman) were drawing on the catchiness of the pop tradition by adding vocalists, quoting '70s soul and jazz in their music, and/or (in Warp's case) signing jazz-funk (Jimi Tenor, Red Snapper) and rock (Broadcast) acts to their rosters. Mouse on Mars make their bid on the former with "Cache Coeur Naif," a four-track EP (and the group's first release under their own name in more than two years) featuring Stereolab vocalists Mary Hansen and Laetitia Sadier. While only one of the songs features vocals in anything like a "pop" sense (verse-chorus-etc.), each incorporates at least a Hansen whisper or a Sadier purr (en Fran├žaise, natch) wrapped around gloriously off-kilter, bleached-out dub-electro rhythms and the usual, Mars-bound assortment of wheezy bleeps, whirrs, and crackles. An excellent return.

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