Sebastien Tellier's third album, Sexuality displays an unambiguous manifesto; the press notes describe it as (a) 'Musical statement of intent for lovemaking' and then even more pervily as 'Conveying a barely suppressed passion'. Well, all that might be acceptable in his home country, but somebody has obviously forgotten to tell monsieur T that we Brits generally frown on songs in which the subjects' Vetemtents are removed and les fluides bodily are exchangement; after all, most of us prefer a cup of tea and a night in front of the telly with Mrs. Slocombe's pussy.
You might be forgiven then for assuming that Sexuality's contents then might consist principally of pool cleaning wah wah, cheesy Je T'Aime moans and blushing Hammond organ, but having roped in Daft Punk's Guy Manuel De Homemme-Christo on production duties, at it's best it's a deft combination of Gallic electro pop ingénue and low velocity techno. Tellier might be obsessed by le beast avec deux backs, but to his credit there's not a hint of cliché or easy contrivances; he whispers piquantly all over understated opener Roche, whilst Over The Top rolls the years back to Herbie Hancock's bass less late eighties funk-jazz hybrids. Now and again there are nods even further backwards to the great French tradition of pop pastiche a la Stereolab, Divine echoing (Whisper it quietly though) their debt to 60's Americana as filtered through polo necked chic, Gitanes and Jacques Brel. Despite the Gallic charm offensive however, there are echoes of Le Punk's more inconsistent output of the last five years, evidenced by a flaccid midsection bereft of any inspiration other than that of No Jacket Required era Phil Collins at his melodramatic worst, before Manty revives the Art of Noise at their most esoteric whilst mournful closer L'Amour and La Violence seems by contrast chastened and wreathed in post coital regret.
If Sexuality is flawed, then it's probably a clearer reflection of ourselves, and if it carries with it traces of guilt, desire and probity then it also mirrors the inextricable post modern confusion of the libido in a world where sex is now chiefly for recreation not procreation. So buy it for Valentine's Day - but maybe not for the object of your affection.