Boomkat Product Review:
Emperor Tomato Ketchup marked the point where the band evolved from a purely underground phenomenon to an important pop group capable of selling albums while keeping their integrity intact.
At the time of its release, it was simultaneously their most experimental and most accessible release, with the deliberate raw textures of earlier works replaced by a more polished vibe. The album was also their greatest success to date both commercially and critically, and remains a consensus favorite even now. Continuing to mine the music of the ’60s and early ’70s, Stereolab employs Farfisas and Moogs, melodies from Bacharach and Hardy, soft-rock, bubblegum, dub and hip-hop sounds to augment their core influences of krautrock, punk, jazz and space rock.
Odd time-signatures and deft layering techniques are more crucial to the arrangements, and the grooves on tracks like “Metronomic Underground” and “Les Yper-Sound” add a level of funk to the mix, while the album also includes clear and catchy pop songs like “Cybele’s Reverie” and “The Noise of Carpet.” Emperor Tomato Ketchup brings many elements to the table, but Stereolab puts them all together into a coherent vision. It’s hard to say if the album’s greatest accomplishment is making pop music palatable to experimental listeners or introducing pop listeners to the group’s experimental influences. Either way, it’s one of the most enjoyable and important albums of the ’90s."