Sebastien Tellier recorded his most recent album ‘My God Is Blue’ in a “shamanic trance in L.A." Tellier told The Line Of Best Fit: "There were no words or sounds, blue pixels morphed into bricks of blue nuances. And it was after this trance that I started to construct my inexpressible truth.” Nothing too bombastically over-egged by the Messianic Frenchman, then.
Tellier is part clown, part faux-philosopher and, thank God, fully tongue-in-cheek. His live schtick involves long periods of rambling eccentric blether and occasional bouts of knowing egomania – the music is very much a backdrop to his well-rehearsed class act.
Sounds irksome, but it actually works. The sleazy cadence and cheesy synths of 'My God Is Blue' lend themselves well to some mild theatrics. Opener 'Pepito Bleu' is spacey and apocalyptic, perfect music to arrive on stage to, arms outstretched, trademark sunglasses perched in place.
He immediately casts his net for some sappy adoration from a rabid fanbase, lurching on and off stage like a sexy coiled spring. Predictably, sex is a consistent theme throughout the night, from the phallic striplight stage decor, to the early addition of lead single from 'My God Is Blue', 'Cochon Ville' - ye of naked nightclub video infamy - to what seems like a wholly ad-libbed setlist.
His drummer and keyboardist take the backseat, but facilitate a full and dramatic sound. Songs from 'Sexuality', 2008’s Daft Punk-produced masterpiece, provide highlights. 'Sexual Sportswear' is a sleaze-laden treat, with its urgent synths and clashing neo-disco drums.
Tellier shines brightest when he strips things back a notch. When classical keys substitute the sleazy, his music is altogether more meaningful. Magnum opus and universal success 'La Ritournelle' is a prime example. Our clownish protagonist paints on what passes for a serious expression and settles down at a keyboard, his creepy hands skimming it effortlessly.
The epic strings of the album version are lost, but the song is stripped back to basics - the normally-shrouded bassline emerges as funky and integral, while Tellier ekes the song out to the fifteen minute mark, interrupting the piano hook with some wild ramblings.
He’s still wobbling on when the lights go up - aided by a constant flow of vodka shots throughout the evening - and stubbornly parks himself on stage, a scamp and a rascal until the very end. Tellier may veer dangerously into the realm of parody, but you can’t fault him for his swirling electro circus pop and capacity to completely create his own weird rulebook.
Words by Natalie Hardwick