Stereolab

Crumb Duck

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As their participation on Mouse on Mars's CACHE COEUR NAIF EP demonstrates, Stereolab is no stranger to collaboration. Working with electro-industrial legend Nurse With Wound might seem an unusual prospect for such a frothy pop band, but CRUMB DUCK brings out the best in both parties. The first two cuts feature Nurse With Wound alone, and are full of that group's trademark--dark, disturbing electronic soundscapes full of bleak, semi-gothic visions.

Predictably, things brighten up considerably when Stereolab enters the picture on "Exploding Head Movie"--the key turns to major, the vocals from ominous whispering to sunny crooning, and the rhythms from funereal to perky. The 13-and-a-half-minute "Animal Or Vegetable" is more a meeting of the minds--Laetitia Sadler's smooth vocal style blends with droning, churchy synthesizer until a thudding beat enters, and the creepy minimalism of Nurse WIth Wound meets the chugging pop of Stereolab head on. The results are as unpredictable as they are captivating.

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