Review - Abstractions

Artist: Europa 51


It's almost frightening how much Stereolab there is in Europa 51, from their debut album's name, to the song titles, to members and guests (S'lab's Andy Ramsey and Simon Johns are full-timers, the late Mary Hansen pipes up here and there) to the space-age bachelor-pad ambience throughout. "Radio Rodeo" recalls the pluck-happy, acoustic twang of the Lab's "Captain Easychord," while an eponymous track lays on the swank like you're used to: After a series of doubled guitar mortars, clinical xylophones and sly brass take turns reiterating the melody over a velvet groundswell. Elsewhere, Europa 51 linchpin/multi-instrumentalist Steve Russell serves up what sounds like an Irish harvest song, and Hansen doles out "la las" as though she hasn't a care in the world. Whether she's waxing monosyllabic or fantasizing about watching clouds, Hansen's voice (the sonic centerpiece) soothes like a balm.


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