With their Francophone vocalist and doctrinaire allegiance to analog synthesizers, Stereolab tread a fine line between arty brilliance and frothy silliness. The Marxist proselytizers who emerged on their early albums have evolved into lounge aesthetes who still know a rock tune when they play it. Tim Gane sometimes gets carried away with the experiments, and his Etch-a-Sketch melodies have a habit of fading into the background when he loads on the effects.

The group’s overall sound has mellowed, but it’s also become more satisfying. Their latest album, “Margerine Eclipse,” is a consistently bouncy, uptempo collection. Dedicated to keyboardist Mary Hansen, who died a few years ago in a bicycle accident, the record celebrates her memory with a party: Most of the songs open in a relaxed mood and end in a blaze of tuneful energy. “Your spirit lives,” coos Laetitia Sadier while the band cruises effortlessly down a superhighway of sleek synth loops, “you spread the seed of love.” Even the dialectics, which in the past often sounded like ironic comments on the future-is-past musical ideas, feel more connected to the songs. Dancing is still the best way to heal . . . and start revolutions.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.