Way early (1992) compilation release of even earlier Stereolab material: in fact, this is the very earliest Stereolab material there is. Switched On compiles the Super 45 EP, the Super-Electric EP, and the Stunning Debut Album 7”, and for all those rarities this is a pretty handsome price. Man, what a great band.
Vinyl LP £17.99 D-UHF-D37C
Reissue on Duophonic. CLEAR vinyl for initial orders.
CD £8.49 PURE78
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- Switched On by Stereolab
9/10 Dan 9th February 2015
I remember these singles fondly from my teenage years from exorbitant amounts of time spent digging through racks of vinyl, turning up long given-up-on finds in unfamiliar cities - Stereolab made you work to get their records back then (or you could simply send off for them in the post, as I eventually twigged). The tracks here can seem a little simple-minded compared to their classic albums of later years, constructed of essentially much the same elements throughout - the droning Moog, the shimmering guitar, the gorgeously accented English that didn't quite scan. But despite their love of repetition, there was a magic in the Lab's grasp of songwriting and melody that always meant they could transcend any accusations of tedium.
'Super Electric' still sparkles and glitters as it always did; 'Doubt', with it's bouncing harmonies and analogue burble, can't help but lodge itself infectiously in the listeners' mind. But the jewel in the crown remains 'The Way Will Be Opening', channeling Paris '68 through the most beguiling, slow-burning riff, a perfect combination of drone and Marx, the twin touchstones of the bands' early years.
Laetitia and Tim have proven themselves alone since the band's 'infinite hiatus' began in 2009, but I don't think they've ever bettered their efforts together. And 'Switched On' contains the foundations for all that would follow, a spectacular pop record which is unashamedly art.
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