Stereolab rebound from 1999's droning Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night with one of its strongest and most accessible albums in years. That's not to say Sound-Dust is dramatically

Stereolab rebound from 1999's droning Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night with one of its strongest and most accessible albums in years. That's not to say Sound-Dust is dramatically different from previous outings. The band's signature elements—the strange song titles, French lyrics, socialist messages, electro-pop mixed with jazz and lounge—are

present once again. But Sound-Dust thrives thanks to Stereolab's shift away from dedicated ambient atmospherics and its renewed focus on meatier song structures. Be it the chugging time-shifts on "Spacemoth" or the country- influenced "Captain Easychord," the album is filled with textured and subtle hooks that reward with repeated listens. The band's idiosyncratic sound is too well-established at this point for Sound-Dust to be a revelation on the level of Dots and Loops and Emperor Tomato Ketchup. However, it does mark a fine return to form that Stereolab fans should applaud.—BG