When the German group Lali Puna emerged in 1999, it sounded like an upgraded Stereolab. The krautrock and Kraftwerk had been ditched in favor of contemporary bleeps and bloops—the kind of stuff that would make unwitting twee fans out of college kids everywhere when The Postal Service dropped two years later. On Our Inventions, the group’s first album since 2004’s guitar-steeped Faking The Books, Lali Puna makes a pointed return to form. The sudden left turn into post-rock and live drum-and-bass appears to have been just that—a momentary diversion—and in its place are the kind of serene melodies, husky vocals, and fragile textures that made the band a favorite in the first place. “Remember” sounds like it was plucked from 2002, no doubt partially due to the icy voice of Markus Acher (who usually croons in The Notwist) dueting with singer Valerie Trebeljahr. “Move On” borrows a little rhythmic inspiration from the stuttering favela funk of M.I.A., but by the end of the song, the beat has been swallowed by major-chord synths and bright chimes. The album-closing collaboration with Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Yukihiro Takahashi (“Out There”) nods to a greater tradition that Lali Puna surely belongs to, but Our Inventions is ultimately an album for modern nostalgists—folks who miss the crisp electronica and springy pop that originally put Morr Music on the map.
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