Chunky car-boot chic title, nuclear-age grooves, jet-set attitude...

With so many of their avant-minded electronic kin bumping down the experimental hard shoulder of the autobahn, Manchester’s [a]Alpinestars[/a] are off exploring the soft verges. They might be the robots, but thanks to the miracle of cybernetics, Glyn Thomas and Richard Woolgar have a tender-hearted core, taking the melodic ease and beautifully crafted poignancy of their Dusseldorf forefathers, and bending them into surprisingly dewy-eyed electro-pop. Sure, they flirt with that promiscuous idea of ‘retro-futurism’ – and have probably also had a liaison with the even more sluttish ‘cinematic soundtrack’ – yet ‘BASIC’ is the sound of a band questing for sci-fidelity listening pleasure.

Vocoders, computer voices, genteel krautrock, the Beth Orton-esque vocals of Cecile Ginibre; there are few tricks they avoid in the pursuit of the pleasant. It’s unashamedly Euro-centric, from the brightly coloured ski-wear swing of ‘Interlaken’ and breath-of-fresh-Air ‘You Rescue’ to ‘Green Raven Blonde’, Stereolab for people who get trashed on Malibu rather than the heady fumes of French linguistics.

Chunky car-boot chic title, nuclear-age grooves, jet-set attitude: ‘BASIC’ could be this year’s coffee-table record were it not for its light-headed wanderlust and dizzy sense of adventure. The neon lights shine bright.