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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Fab Four Suture
Too Pure

Rating: 8/10 ?

March 13, 2006
I don't get EPs. I don't understand why someone would want to buy a teaser of an album slightly before it's released in its entirety. I suppose collectors go in for them for the B-sides that may only appear on the diminutive discs, but that's never been me -- I'm an album guy. I'll hold off on hearing a song or two for a month or two so my expectations of the full album aren't skewed one way or another.

I mention this because I'm trying to figure out why I like this Stereolab album so much, and why I dislike their previous EP releases, Kyberneticka Babicka, Plastic Mile/I Was A Sunny Rainphase, and Interlock/Visionary Roadmaps. It would be one thing if the songs were just inferior (like Deerhoof's blasť Green Cosmos EP compared to The Runner's Four album), but the material on these EPs comes directly from Fab Four Suture. These are the same songs, so why do they sound better to me this time around?

Placement plays a big factor in this situation. "Kyberneticka Babicka" parts 1 and 2 appear on the EP of the same name, and here again on Fab Four Suture. When I reviewed the EP collection, I poo-pooed these tracks for droning on too long, for being uninteresting and unnecessary. On the album proper, they make fitting bookends to a fine album. On Kyberneticka Babicka they appear back to back as the only tracks, and you have to wonder what the point is of such a release with its techno-repetitive ba-baas. That's not the case on Fab Four Suture, where the songs provide a theme for the album.

Quantity is another advantage that Fab Four Suture has over the EPs... as you would expect, the track listing has been doubled and the group has added some much needed bulk. "Whisper Pitch" stands out with a minor key that contrasts nicely with the rest of the disc, "Excursions Into 'Oh, A-Oh'" and "Vodiak" speed things along... every song here has it's own Stereolab charm. The songs released in EP form work better with more songs and different tempos. Whereas "Plastic Mile" seemed like a bummer next to its EP neighbor "I Was A Sunny Rainphase," here it's placed perfectly in a 3-song slowdown. The songs that weren't released as a part of the EP series from last year are now available as EPs as well, but the arrangement of Fab Four Suture is worth the full price.

As is typical of Stereolab albums, Fab Four Suture is a solid, satisfying listen front to back. Their discography can be frustrating to critics who want to argue about which album is the best, because there really isn't one that stands out as being head and shoulders above all the others. With a few dips and peaks here and there, Stereolab is usually good for a straight eight out of ten. Fab Four Suture fits right in with Margarine Eclipse, Sound Dust and the rest of the group's bubbly electro pop. Harsh though it may have been, I stand by my review of those EPs when I said they were forgettable, especially when you could be spending your 'lab time listening to Fab Four Suture instead.

Lesson learned: I should just leave the EP reviews to Afoldy.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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