100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #30 Stereolab – French Disko

Released : 1995

To some it might’ve seemed that the easy listening version of Wonderwall released at the end of 1995 by the Mike Flowers Pops was a random act of unkindness. But the revival of a form known variously as lounge, easy listening or even space age bachelor pad music had been underway for a couple of years at various London club nights such as Blow Up and Indigo, as much as the retro-rockism of Britpop was doing just the same revivalist job in the mainstream.

Anglo-French collective Stereolab didn’t come from that scene but instead fed from the more avant-garde sociopolitical fever of the late 60’s that opposed it. Based around vintage hi-fi boffin Tim Gane and singer Letitia Sadler, they even named the first of their two 1993 releases Space Age Bachelor Pad Music – but laced their nostalgia with polemicism that evoked the spirit of Paris ’68.

Not so much music to watch girls by then as tunes to watch the Bourgeoisie swing from a lampost to, French Disko left behind the rollnecks and instead went on a grungy, acid rock freak out that took many of their references – krautrock, prog, chanson, punk – and stirred them up into a Martini-spilling cocktail of the Molotov variety. The revolution would no longer be lobotomised.

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