Review of Universe Album by Sebastien Tellier

Sebastien Tellier
Album Review
(Lucky Number)

Sebastien Tellier Universe Album

To call Sebastien Tellier a maverick would only be telling half the story. Sure, he doesn't exactly play by the rules, and don't even think about labelling him under some HMV-friendly genre specific box, please. But - and here's the important aspect - like other celebrated one-off, stand alone artists such as Beck, Serge Gainsbourg or even Syd Barrett, what Tellier offers are musical fables that sound like nothing else on this earth, which means that after the first few lines of the opening verse the listener instantly knows who the performer is.

Bearing that special factor in mind, it's quite charming to know that Tellier, for all his stripped down, semi-acoustic dalliances into melancholic desperado torch songs, also has a panache for creating electronic soundscapes such as `La Ritournelle', which has slight elements of fellow countrymen Phoenix along with the more mellow rush of a less-dance orientated Zero 7.

`Universe' though shines through on Tellier's unique voice, which has the same maudlin qualities as Nick Cave minus the somnambulistic croak. `Broadway' is like listening to a stage production musical version of `Unknown Pleasures' or something as equally dramatic, while `La Dolce Vita', a cover of French artist Chrristophe's hit from 2001, glows with the flickering elegance of a traumatic torch song.

Elsewhere, the demure, semi-electronica of `Classic' and sad and mournful piano ballad that is the title track stand out.

If subtle, diligent ambient mood-setting music is your thing, then Sebastien Teller's `Universe' could be right up your street. Enchanting.


Dom Gourlay