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Monade

Monstre Cosmic (Too Pure)

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On the surface, Stereolab singer Laetitia Sadier's side project sounds similar to her full-time band's Sergio-Mendes-meets-Philip-Glass space-age pop. But dig deeper, and you'll hear some differences. For one thing, Monade's Monstre Cosmic features more tempo variety, and the elegant use of instruments — gorgeous violins, shimmering vibes, and sighing slide guitar — provides subtle coloring. The wry, rapturous "Regarde" evokes both French horndog Serge Gainsbourg and Mingus-era Joni Mitchell, while the yearning "Invitation" finds Sadier tipping her fedora to early-'70s jazz-pop and Burt Bacharach's way-to-San-Jose horn arrangements. Monade accomplishes a very neat trick here, coming off classy and raw (the drums crack and thump, garage-band style), as well as progressive and retro. Plus, it's got a huge heart.

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