Stereo Total

Les Hormones

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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares

After concentrating on film music for a few years, Stereo Total returned with Les Hormones, a set of songs that proves the time off did them good. Perhaps because they experimented on their scores, the duo's music is more tightly defined here than it has been in some time. Les Hormones sounds like classic Stereo Total, full of zapping synths, twangy guitars, chunky beats, and the perfectly imperfect voices of Brezel Goring and Francoise Cactus. Indeed, Cactus produced the album, giving it just enough lo-fi grit to hark back to the band's early days, but not slavishly; besides, even the usual Stereo Total sound is far from routine. Over the course of Les Hormones, Cactus and Goring range from the winsome pop of "Fleur de Hollande," the raucous garage-punk of "Good Night, Bad Morning" and the erotic kitsch of "Labu Hotelu (Das Stundenhotel)," imbuing it all with the offhanded outlandishness that has defined the duo for decades. The collision of synth strings, xylophone, and samples on "Cactus Berry" sounds like thrift shop trip-hop, while "Halt Deine Kerze Gerade" delivers an even more unlikely combination of atonal electronics, a martial beat and a bugle. As wild as Les Hormones' sounds get, the songwriting is some of Stereo Total's sharpest; though this is their first album without any covers, "Adieu Sophie" and "It's All Because of You" are so catchy and memorable that they sound instantly familiar. Endearingly raw and stylish at the same time, Les Hormones is the sound of Stereo Total doing what only they can do, and doing it at their best.

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