When you receive an album containing the music of Laetitia Sadier, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess vaguely what it might sound like. From her many, many years in Stereolab, her musical roots are firmly planted in the world of chilled out lounge. While Stereolab did have some more rockin' moments, such as on the groundbreaking Emperor Tomato Ketchup, a large percentage of their outstanding catalog keeps it cool.
Sadier's Monade, which began as a bedroom-recording project, has now turned into a true four-piece band. She has added bassist Marie Merlet, keyboard/guitarist Nicolas Etienne and drummer David Loquier, along with Stereolab's multi-instrumentalist Joe Watson. The sounds of Monstre Cosmic could have easily come from a Stereolab session, sharing quite a bit of similar elements from the precise percussive beats to the plinking of the guitar. This side-project comes across as a slightly more elegant version of the 'lab, but I mean that as a compliment.
After the brief opening instrumental, things get moving at a mellow pace with "Etloile." While the basic skeleton does have those core Stereolab ingredients, this is a much simpler, refined effort. "Lost Language" turns up the tempo just a tad, adding in flourishes of string arrangements to this beautiful pop track. At moments it takes slight swerves into sci-fi, with eerie chords and effects. You can almost visualize somebody chilling in their space-age bachelor pad (Stereolab reference, kids) while sipping a martini in zero gravity.
A standout track is the groovin' "Regarde," featuring a near disco beat with understated touches of a brass section. Halfway through the tempo slows down, bringing back full orchestral arrangements which eventually lead us back to the cool vibe of the first two minutes. "Tout En Tour Est Un" comes across as the theme song for a '60s spy movie, with jazzy piano elements and sultry vocals.
In the end, Monstre Cosmic is an elegant journey into the world of avant pop. This is the clearest vision Laetitia Sadier has had for Monade, resulting in a cohesive album that is their best to date. Although the songs do have a bit of a '60s vibe, for the most part (as always) her music continues to have a timeless quality that will definitely hold its own over the years.
MP3 Download - "Regarde"