'The First Of The Microbe Hunters' is a Stereolab mini album; that is, it lasts just short of 40 minutes. Despite the relatively short length of this latest project, it contains what seems like an eternity of repetitive space-funk groove on the opening 'Outer Bongolia'. Typically Stereolab take as much joy in making beautiful pop-oriented numbers like 'Intervals', bathed in joyous harmonies sung as always by Laetitia Sadler and Mary Hansen whilst Tim Gane and his cohorts (including now-almost proper member, Sean O'Hagan, the leader of The High Llamas) provide musical backing. This is future music writ large, and despite the usual noodling which has always prevented them from making a truly classic album, Stereolab continue to invigorate a largely uninventive era of music. That is, they would invigorate if people bought more of their records.