My God Is Blue
, June 6th, 2012 06:12
There’s a fine line between ambition and hubris, and it looked as though Sebastien Tellier might have veered into the latter when details of My God Is Blue first emerged. Some madness was involved in the making of this record, and talk from the man himself pre-release that he’d made an album comparable with the Guns ‘n’ Roses Use Your Illusion LPs and Pink Floyd’s overblown stoner vinyl of choice The Wall looked, on paper at least, like he might have used his delusion and conjured up a flatulent turkey. Throw in talk of chucking it all in to live in a self-sufficient commune with his fans, battles with alcoholism, a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital (which he escaped from) and the concept (always a word that sets alarm bells ringing) stemming from an electric-blue dream of a deity generated by undisclosed drugs, and it looked as though we might be in for a less protracted Chinese Democracy II. Thankfully any G&R references are a herring of the rouge variete.
As it transpires, we needn’t have worried. If Politics was patchy perhaps thanks to the inclusion of world-beater ‘La Ritournelle’, then Tellier has been nothing if not consistent since. Sexuality was a joyously tawdry, squelchy, electrosexy soundtrack to copulation, a testament to his powers of precision and command of space. Being the chameleonic contrarian that he is, in some ways My God Is Blue is less surprising than one might have come to expect from an artist who delights in confounding.
The employment of services from Parisienne hip-hop producer Mr Flash is a shrewd move. Tellier described the artistic tensions between the pair as like a war between God and the Devil in the studio, though its a cohesive listen and the tracks sit together magnificently. Tellier’s whimsical balladry on ‘Magical Hurricane’ nestles neatly alongside Mr Flash’s bombastic bridling of the ridiculous ‘Russian Attractions’, replete with explosions and screeching sax breaks. Indeed, beyond the bravura and bullshit, what becomes clear is that that the songs are strong on this one, and if there’s one tiny criticism it’s that there’s more balladry than bombast. And while nothing is as spine-tinglingly mesmeric as the aforementioned ‘La Ritournelle’, you have to ask, what is? Tellier might never write a better song, but then Nick Cave is never likely to surpass ‘The Mercy Seat’ either.
Tellier is not afraid to have a go though. Opener ‘Pepito Blue’ sets us up nicely, with its simple piano line and ethereal synths, and expectation is built further by the inclusion of a gregorian-like choir; the masterstroke is that it concludes prematurely and has you reaching for the repeat button. ‘Sedulous’ is signature Tellier, with its pretty build and insanely catchy chorus set over a deliciously dancey groove. And finest of all is the unadulteratedly saucy ‘Cochon Ville’, a track so sexy it hardly leaves the house for jacking off at its own reflection, and in a month which has seen the passing of so many of disco’s seminal originators, it’s good to know the genre is mutating in good hands. For all the talk of madness, it would seem more than ever that Sebastien Tellier knows exactly what he’s doing.