For more than two decades, Stereolab was the definition of quirky, reserved and impossibly cool. Their retro-futuristic grooves were notable for their krautrock steadiness and reliance on vintage keyboard sounds, but truly coalesced around the undeniable voice of Laetitia Sadier. With her solo debut ('10s "The Trip"), it was clear how much of Stereolab's appeal was bound up in her sensuous, yet remote vocals, a sense only deepened with it's follow-up "Silencio." Her predilection for aimless intonations about the state of society persists, but wrapped up in predictably luxurious production and filtered through her precisely accented English. The songs, while serious, never feel unduly heavy, especially the sprightly disco of "Fragment pour le future de l'homme." Sadier selectively revels in her native French, most notably the bossa nova number "Moi Sans Zach," a sweet slice of Franco-Brazilian relations that connects the laid-back dots of legends like Serge Gainsbourg and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and even welcomes former bandmate Tim Gane on the most 'Lab-reminiscent track in the bunch, the '60s-leaning "Next Time You See Me."
There are no hidden treasures on the sophomore album from indie-rock trio Eternal Summers. All the good stuff is right at the top of the pile, glittering away like galleons in the hot sun, each short song delivered with enviable directness of purpose. It is apparent perhaps no more so than on "I Love You," which is simplicity itself, adding a gauzy layer of background vocals to the Ramones riff at its core. It's not all soft breezes, as both Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff can turn on the dark, bringing their love of languid, '90s post-punk haze to tracks like "Girls in the City" and "Heaven and Hell," the latter of which crumbles and devolves into a rewarding wash of guitar and echoes.