To those familiar with Stereolab, Margerine Eclipse arrives with the same inviting jubilance you knew you could expect from an old friend. Indeed, the ‘Lab has been cooking up consistently delicious, retro-futuristic, French-kissed indie-pop since 1993. Sadly, in 2002, the band lost its guitarist/backup vocalist Mary Hansen to a traffic accident; it would be their first year without new material in over a decade. On Margerine Eclipse, Stereolab pays tribute to excellence by getting back to business as usual.

Margarine Eclipse feels much like its namesake: puffy, little dollops of sound to spread and savor. The opener “Vonal Declosion” dances in like a hokey Austin Powers credit sequence, triumphant in its flippant attitude. “Feel And Triple” serves as a sentimental tribute and glorious return-to-form. Tracks from beginning to end impress with variety and buoyant spontaneity.

The unique characteristics of the album are seen in its attention to sonic detail. Synthetic flourishes of percussive molten machinery, psychedelic visions of synchronized bouncing gelatin and sprawling solar vocals greet you throughout. Most sounds were polarize to one channel or the other, providing the headphone-wearer opportunity for an entirely different perspective on the music.

When it come down to it, however, Margerine Eclipse was never meant to be dissected at all. Its beauty lies in its carefree spirit. Sometimes you just have to “believe it’s not butter” and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
[Chris Flora-Tostado may win the award for “last name most likely to make one crave tortilla chips.” Awesome.]