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3.7 out of 5 stars9
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 22 August 2008
This album has many of the usual stereolab hallmarks, but as usual the sound has been morphed to reflect the current obsessions of Tim Gane and lateitia sadier.I am a massive long term fan of The Lab and this album does not disappoint though it has taken a few listens to really get my head round it.It is decidely less baroque than many of their previous excursions. The sound is tighter and more direct. This feels like both a good and a bad thing.It is less langourous and abstracted. Melancholia is almost absent from this record though there is still that restless yearning that they do so well.Despite this,it is a rich and beguiling album that definitely reveals more with each listen.before long the melodies and crypto-poetic lyrics imbed themselves in your mind.There is only ONE stereolab. Long may they reign!
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on 22 August 2008
I have been eagerly anticipating the new Stereolab album for some time, intrigued by Tim Gane's tantalising account of the creative process that led to 'Chemical Chords'- of a batch of his own musical doodles from which the groop developed the final, fleshed out tracks in the studio. So yes, as one would expect from Stereolab, 'Chemical Chords' is a lushly orchestrated album (Sean O'Hagan's arrangements add wonderful texture, especially the strings on 'Cellulose Sinshine'), but each track bears the succinct imprint of a singular idea perfectly realised, unlike previous albums where some tracks feel like two or three condensed into one. The synergy between the musical elements makes this another Stereolab album that will continue to reward repeated listens. It's really only just beginning to sink in for me, and so far 'Daisy Click Clack','Self Portrait With Electric Brain' and 'Cellulose Sunshine' have particularly infected my musical consciousness.

The Stereolab formula is evident, but sufficiently tweaked to engage the fans- I can't imagine they will be disappointed. This is a great album, and it's certainly not bereft of candidates to add to your selection of favourite Stereolab songs. It also has an infectiously cheerful quality that might just dispel some mental rainclouds.
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on 23 August 2008
I have been eagerly anticipating the new Stereolab album for some time, intrigued by Tim Gane's tantalising account of the creative process that led to 'Chemical Chords'- of a batch of his own musical doodles from which the groop developed the final, fleshed out tracks in the studio. So yes, as one would expect from Stereolab, 'Chemical Chords' is a lushly orchestrated album (Sean O'Hagan's arrangements add wonderful texture, especially the strings on 'Cellulose Sinshine' and 'Self Portrait With Electric Brain'), but each track bears the succinct imprint of a singular idea perfectly realised, unlike previous albums where some tracks feel like two or three condensed into one. The synergy between the musical elements makes this another Stereolab album that will continue to reward repeated listens. It's really only just beginning to sink in for me, and so far 'Daisy Click Clack','Self Portrait With Electric Brain' and 'Cellulose Sunshine' have particularly infected my musical consciousness.

The Stereolab formula is evident, but sufficiently tweaked to engage the fans- I can't imagine they will be disappointed. This is a great album, and it's certainly not bereft of candidates to add to your selection of favourite Stereolab songs. It also has an infectiously cheerful quality that might just dispel some mental rainclouds- even the mood of restless yearning doesn't stray too far towards melancholy.

N.B I highly recommend getting the 16 track rather than 14 track version- 'The Nth Degree' and 'Magne-Music' are both awesome, the former with its insistent bass and crackling electronic inflections, the latter with its rhythmic electronic bubble sounds.
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on 1 June 2009
Of course, as most of the reviews for this album like to point out, Stereolab have the problem of living up to their beautifully inventive back catalogue, but as someone who's come to their work relatively recently I have to say that, taken on its own terms, this is a deliciously fresh and invigorating creation that turns out to be perfect listening for the suddenly descended semitropical weather. With its echoes of old French film scores and Ipanema and Brian Wilson and with Sadier's addictively rhubarb & cream vocals, it looks set to become my soundtrack for the summer.
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on 1 April 2009
I think Krisman totally misses the point with his review, not the 'Labs best album but still extremely good for a band of their standing. Neon Beanbag should have been No.1 in the Charts for a month, nice to see the band take on board new influences (Motown) and mold it into their unique sound.
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on 3 May 2011
The track Neon Beanbag tells you all you need to know about this album. Perky non-pop, which absolutely refuses to be classed as 'popular'. But which is still too kool for skool.
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2008
I'm a massive Stereolab fan having followed them for well over ten years, buying everything they've released in the process.
There is no other band like Stereolab - the quirky moog edge, with percussion and Laetitia's enchanting vocals combine to form a delightful indie-pop stew that is frankly irresistible.

However, for the first time I can remember I am disappointed by a 'Lab record. Chemcial Chords is drab. It really just feels like a band going through the process without putting too much thought into the product at all.

'Self Portrait with Electric Brain' is the only track that lives up to the standard many of us have come to expect. Brimming with energy, catchy, yet intelligent and avant-garde.

It's not a terrible album in general terms, just in terms of what Stereolab have produced in the past. Let's hope this is just a blip before another fine album.
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on 27 November 2012
I've got everything the lab have produced because I love the fact that they evolve and this album is another step on in their development. And it sucks really bad so bad

Avoid this clunker

Buy anything else apart from last of the microbe hunters and the album which followed this dud made up of stuff leftover from this album session.
They will be back though
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on 6 November 2008
I bought this album under the premise I was going to be entertained and discover a music style that would uplift and make me feel warm inside. Instead I discovered an album I would not even recommend to my worst enemy. This album has zero musical quality and has been put together in such an ad hoc fashion that it is impossible to give it any creative merit. Avoid and steer your self towards other bands that actually have some talent.
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