Tellier - Sexuality (Lucky Number)
idiosyncratic Frenchman with a penchant for doing press
ups and sticking cigarettes up his nose on stage returns
with his third album proper. Sébastien Tellier may
stop just short of pleading madness and screaming 'Wibble'
a la Blackadder, but to say he is unpredictable is a gross
reads as inconsistent to many as well; his output to date
has veered from one of the best pop songs of the century,
the beautifully simplistic seven-minute ballad La Ritournelle,
to funk-riddled self-indulgence. So will procuring the production
services of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft
Punk result in a more cohesive and consistent album?
short answer is yes. If you can imagine the pop sensibilities
of Daft Punk's Discovery amplified and exaggerated but minus
the focus on the dancefloor, you can get a sense of the
overall sound of Sexuality. Opener, Roche lays the foundation
for the rest of the album through its delicate, plucked
synth melody, slow, swinging electro beat and Tellier's
breathy vocal in his native tongue, surely aimed at seduction.
the vocals flit between French and English, musically the
album retains its focus. Electronic throughout, many tracks
are pitched at ballad-speed but this is no sickly, saccharine
nightmare rather an outpouring of love, lust and emotion
executed with a huge dollop of ice-cool Gallic style. Having
said that, Divine is stupidly upbeat and ecstatically celebratory
Sportswear is the only instrumental on the album. Dramatic,
melodic and repetitive, it gave little away as to the rest
of the content of the album and Tellier's sensitive vocal
performances when released as the lead single.
Homem-Christo's productions do conjure up images of the
eighties as synths and electronic beats combine to ensure
the album lives up to its name with a soft-focussed aplomb.
There are occasional orgasmic moans and groans, as on Kilometer
and Pomme, to reinforce the overall theme but the music
itself oozes sensuality, at times almost caricaturing it
through soft porn soundtrack stylings but generally with
a seductive sensitivity.
light and dark of Tellier's character are both displayed
on closing ballad L'Amour Et La Violence an autobiographical
track that tells of his troubled and violent teenage past.
It is simple, honest, personal and touching. Tellier certainly
knows how to tug those heartstrings and, even if you're
not fluent in French, the level of laid-bare emotion on
display is akin to La Ritournelle.
of modern music's great eccentrics has come up with his
most pop-centred album so far. That's not to say it doesn't
challenge and ask questions between the hooks, however.
Tellier will always innovate and reinvent himself with every
release so this purely electronic approach may never be
repeated again. That would be a shame as de Homem-Christo
seems to have harnessed what some find to be Tellier's frustratingly
inconsistent nature to produce an album that is both accessible
and consistent and worthy of repeat listens.
shiny electro-pop with an occasional hint of fromage, Sexuality
is a strong, focussed album and arguably Tellier's finest
long-player to date.