"Margerine Eclipse" finds Stereolab at a crossroads; co-vocalist Mary Hansen was killed in a car accident a little over a year ago (R.I.P.), while longtime producers John McEntire (The Sea and Cake, Tortoise) and Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth) were presumably too busy to participate (good riddance). Produced by the Groop at their Instant O studio, "Eclipse" sports a bit more starch and circumstance than recent 'Lab outings, while those cradle-rockin' Moog melodies continue to flow like good wine and Tim Gane's guitars lash out on occasion, blistering the ear. There's no one around to sing backup to Laetitia Sadier but Sadier herself, but through their losses, Stereolab has unstuck themselves from one hell of a rut, and made their most accessible and direct platter since 1996's "Emperor Tomato Ketchup."
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