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In the mid-’80s, Primal Scream was a jangly guitar-pop band beholden, like countless contemporaries, to the Beatles, the Byrds, the Velvet Underground, and the Who in their Mod days. But Bobby Gillespie’s reedy vocals and Jim Beattie’s spiraling, vaguely surf-tinged lead guitar work set the band apart. After a handful of glorious singles and a classic album, the two parted ways—Gillespie to lead Primal Scream heedlessly into the Ninth Circle of Classic Rock Hell, Beattie to form the bland dream-pop band Spirea X. A decade later, Beattie quietly re-emerged in Adventures in Stereo, providing musical settings for the crystalline voice of his girlfriend Judith Boyle. Beattie’s new band is a revelatory return to form: Adventures in Stereo makes stripped-down, extremely catchy pop with heavy ’60s inflections. Dominated by Boyle’s multitracked vocals, Adventures in Stereo’s sound is what Stereolab might make if they were more obsessed with the Beach Boys than Krautrock and expended their infectious grooves in two minutes instead of eight. Alternative Stereo Sounds, the band’s second album (excluding an unauthorized collection of demos—some reworked here—released last year on Underground Sounds), is a collection of 18 delightful songs that whisks by in just over 31 minutes. Some of Beattie’s little compositions sound like themes from forgotten children’s television shows; some could have been written by Brian Wilson in the happy old days of endless summer; others are bits of moody psychedelia. Nearly all of them offer exemplary demonstrations of how to make the perfect pop song.

—Leonard Roberge