Buy (Transient Random Noise Bursts with Announcements)
With a title like this, you’d expect doodling and experimentation, a sonic interpretation of a dude named Barry in his attic, hunched over with all the contents of a mail order Acme kit spread over a table: Barry is trying to tune into alien messages.
On 1993's TRNBWA, outer-body contact is communicated through swirling, colorful epic songs. On their 3rd and most conceptual album, Stereolab crosses the Velvet Underground and shoe gaze with the nod to Krautrock. They flaunt their influences and yet come up with something so original. Almost all songs are long journeys characterized by simple, repetitive chords and a drenching flood of Moog and droning vocals, which are often distorted or suddenly cut off at the end.
On subsequent and weaker albums, Stereolab continued to develop a sound that has been dubbed “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music”. On Dots and Loops, which has a couple excellent summer singles and Mars Audiac Quintet with its sing along gem “Ping Pong” and on the more complex Cobra and Phases which features some dazzling bass lines, vocals are cleaner and chic. They are the center of the songs much more than on TRNBWA, where vocals are more like an instrument. They can be grotesque, or they can ride the crest of a sonic wave, playing beauty to the instrumentation’s beast.