Wow and Flutter [EP]

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Wow and Flutter [EP] Review

by Tim Sendra

Stereolab's 1994 EP, Wow and Flutter, features the album mix of the title track (as taken from the group's Mars Audiac Quintet), and three non-LP tracks. "Wow and Flutter" is one of the band's definitive moments, and sounds even better when isolated from the sometimes numbingly great album. "Nihilist Assault Group (Parts 3-5)" is a reworking of a track from Mars Audiac Quintet. On the album the song is a noisy sprint that builds and builds in intensity; the EP version cuts dead about three minutes in, shifting to a mutated synth-drone with a vocal section before coming back in the last minute-and-a-half with a furious, almost punk, ending. "Narco Martenout" and "Heavy Denim" are wonderful tracks that could have easily made the cut on the album, the former being particularly charming, balancing some lovely vocals (lead and background) against a pounding wall of slowly oscillating noise, and somehow coming up with one of the band's more haunting melodies. Of the three non-LP tracks, only "Heavy Denim" appears elsewhere, and that is as a BBC session collected on ABC Music: The Radio One Sessions. Because these tracks are so good, this EP is a must-have collector's item for Stereolab mavens.

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