Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Described by its maker as intellectual r 'n' b, Sexuality stands as a lovely antidote to the profoundly unsexy leg-humping of Justin Timberlake. Tellier is wonderfully French about his chosen theme: philosophical about his love-making, palpably sensuous in his expression of that philosophy. The music is never less than seductive. Tellier and producer Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, of Daft Punk, appear to have taken the ethereal love bubble of Air's 'Sexy Boy' and the chewy funk of Missy Elliot's 'The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)' as their starting point. Vulgarity is kept well out of frame in Tellier's sex scenes.

Sexuality has its salty tongue lodged firmly in its cheek. Sébastien Tellier is a man who could quite reasonably star in a movie entitled Young Gandalf. His previous album, Politics, concerned itself with Foucauldian systems of power and control. As far as unlikely pop Lotharios go, he's up there with dear old Jarvis Cocker. For evidence, check out his Eurovision 2008 performance of album highlight and single 'Divine'. Backed by singers disguised with his trademark shades and Bin Laden beard, Tellier rode onstage in a golf buggy and performed clutching a helium filled globe which he also inhaled from. Unsurprisingly, Eurovision didn't really 'get' his laissez-faire approach, while the cameraman seemed to find Tellier's shoes more interesting than his face.

This album may also have been Tellier's means of making inroads into the mainstream while keeping his achingly cool cred intact. Eurovision may not have worked out for Tellier; far smarter was his decision to collaborate with American Apparel, giving the retailer an exclusive three-month pre-release of Sexuality, which, least we forget, features a slow-burner entitled 'Sexual Sportswear'. As an act of brand-strengthening, it was worthy of any nascent hip hop superstar.

But don't get hung up on that, and don't get distracted by the album's title either. Tellier never seeks to batter the listener over the head with his sexuality. The sex remains firmly in the music itself. 'Roche' and 'Elle' are excursions into deep electro-funk, both infused with a sweetness that inspires a twining of spirits as much as physical coupling. 'Une Heure's sexy-queasy rhythm is immediately arresting, while closing track 'L'amour et la Violence' begins as an old school torch song before lifting off into a strawberry sunset on great waves of undulating electronica.

Best tracks: 'Divine', 'Elle', 'Roche'

Richard Morris

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