Five years removed from her days as co-leader of Stereolab, Laetitia Sadier sounds freer than ever. Sadier’s lyrics have always been wide-ranging, sometimes mixed with random lines of dialog from Chris Morris’s post-modern sketch comedy show Jam or socioeconomic screeds in service of delectable space age pop. But Something Shines feels even riskier with Sadier revealing her most furious and most reflective sides.
Her harangues against the unequal distribution of wealth seek to draw blood (“The ultra rich in all impunity/ rot our society,” she coos on “Oscuridad” over a melting guitar and organ backdrop), and she exhibits impatience toward ignorant people on tracks like “The Scene of the Lie” and the Young Marble Giants-like minimalism of” Echo Port” (“We are condemned to die of shame/ for accepting the world as it is”).
Sadier balances out that lyrical vitriol not only with gently purring pop she created with David Thayer (her bandmate in the newly minted project Little Tornados), but with some of the most ruminative songs of her career. She examines the beauty and expanse of the natural world with the same wonder she brought to “Lo Boob Oscillator” (one of Stereolab’s most beloved tunes), and turns further inward to exhibit the hurt of a broken relationship on a pair of lovely string-drenched tunes, “The Milk of Human Kindness” and “Then I Will Love You Again.” Like Sadier’s best work, Something Shines serves to re-aggravate and irritate fresh wounds while soothing them at the same time.