Tuesday, 24 June 2008

SEBASTIEN TELLIER: Divine


Apparently the Chivers are a high school pop group in a film called Steak - I haven't seen it, nor do I feel any real urge to do so, but Sebastien Tellier is involved in its music somewhere along the way and hence "I love the Chivers anyway/'Cos Chivers look divine" in the song "Divine." How good does it sound outside the entrapment of Eurovision? Far more modest and it affects far more deeply; live performance does not suit its Daft Punk-assisted contours. Indeed, both song and performance committed the fatal Eurovision sin of subtlety; a broad audience requires broad strokes, the huge gesture, the instantly recognisable sub-Esperanto language of post-Cowell pop.

In Tellier's "reality" (and how did France get away with submitting an entry sung for the most part in English, but then Tellier, c'est Tellier...) Daft Punk's sureness transmogrifies magically into Air lightness, with a briskness which the latter duo have not seen for some age; post-Lynch girl group doowops, a vaguely disinterested lead voice ("I'm alone in life to say") which regularly bends the song's brightness to reveal a more dramatic, uncertain undertow with its out of tempo piano, its extended needles of pauses, before bouncing back into a 1962 which exists only in the far western corner of his mind ("They try to find the Milky Way/They love to drink it every day"); cool ice cubes of string synth - and then the balladic dropout where Tellier crouches towards us and supplicates his need for unrestrained wonder - does he want to be a Chiver on pain of instant death or eternal life? Well, he loves them, and thus the ELO as Mitch Murray might have known them backdrop returns, those bop shoo bops indestructible, impermeable; at his time of life, which is not that far away from mine, he refuses to put away childish thoughts in the sure knowledge that they can on occasion be the most profound of all thoughts.