A long time ago, I had a really crappy cassette player (remember cassettes?) And my tape of Mars Audiac Quintet was stuck in the tape player, for months. Seriously. The only thing I listened to in the car was this album (Or in this case tape). It got to be a joke, and people would start laughing when they were in my car, and they heard Stereolab AGAIN. But after, literally, months of listening to this recording I think I learned every subtle nuance of this great album. (Perfect driving music!)
This cd, more than any onther, bridges the gap between their early, more rocking, krautrock-influenced sound, and their later space-lounge-pop sound (Which would really start with their next release, Emperor Tomato Ketchup.) This cd still has the loud guitars, overdriven keyboards, repetition, and experimentation that defines their early sound. Unlike some of their early releases, the recording and production are definitely hi-fi, and the recording sounds crystal clear. (This is a great audiophile record!)
They were able to merge the sounds of krautrock (i.e. Can, Faust, and especially NEU!) with the Beach Boys and Velvet Underground, and made this pop masterpiece.
I think in many ways this CD is their honing, fine tuning, and perfecting that early sound, and it drops a few hints about the new musical direction they would take.