Sound-dust was Stereolab’s first release since Cobra and Phases… the record that really exposed me to their music. It came out as I was slowly digesting the groop’s extensive back catalog. The previous records had built expectations and I was trepidatious toward the possibility that it might not meet them.
I was a fan, but I just didn’t know what to expect.
On the first couple listens I found it wasn’t a disappointment. Sound-dust had a cleaner, straight-forward sound to it that’s easy to breath. Space moth and Captain Easychord were both instant classics, the latter of which I have a pleasant memory of: sitting in traffic in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, windows rolled down in my ’93 Hyundai Sonata, blasting it as loud as I could.
Beyond those hits, though, the rest of the album lingered, failing to really catch on. And that’s how it deceived me.
For all its simple exterior, this album gets under your skin. The cleaner compositions hide within an engaging complexity, becoming more appreciated over time until suddenly you step back and realize almost every song has a five-star rating in your library.
In retrospect, I come to the realization that this one might be Stereolab’s best record ever.