You know that voice straight away – it’s the sound of Stereolab (or one of the sounds of Stereolab anyway, a crucial part at one point). And though Sadier has made other solo albums this is the one I’ve spent the most time with – connected with. Ostensibly nothing much happens, in that it is unmistakably her voice, her sound, comparisons then to a more tuneful Nico, some hazy Beach Boys-via-Yo La Tengo-styled melodies wafting about beneath and around – and that gauzy Pink Floyd of the forgotten years (1968-1972) informing the musical hue – most effectively on the closing Life Is Winning, a gorgeous wee wafter.
We kick off with the sunny ring of open guitar chords and that VU-pilfered sound that everyone vaguely indie aims for, Quantum Soup’s six minutes of nearly psychedelic pop feeling like an album overture. The concise, dramatic pop that immediately follows – Then I Will Love You Again – is a nice wee treat, you get the feeling, the whole way through the album in fact, that it’s a stick-to-the-knitting/preach-to-the-converted affair. But that’s okay.
The Milk of Human Tenderness harnesses that Nico-as-dramatic-frontperson role, Release From The Centre of Your Heart bends an R’n’B ballad into the shape of curtains-drawn euro-pop; Francoise Hardy with an alt-indie makeover. That’s a lazy-enough but just fine-enough description for the overall sound here.
It’s lovely and easy on the ear and exactly what you’d expect – the words “new solo album from former Stereolab chanteuse” should both sell this album to those that need to hear it and do it no real disservice in the process.