Saturday, November 28, 2009

Noughties By Nature #109: Sebastian Tellier – Divine

Eurovision entries seldom seem to crop-up in year-end lists, never mind decade-end ones, and that’s usually for a good reason. Whilst the contest isn’t quite the car-crash viewing everyone supposes it is – the X Factor has cornered the car-crash market much more successfully, I think you’ll find, whilst Eurovision yearns for credibility – it has to be said that truly ‘classic’ moments are very few and far between.

Spin back to May 2008, then, and watch as respected French artist Sebastian Tellier coolly ploughs his way on to the Eurovision stage on a golf cart, his hair flickering slightly as he goes. The performance he went on to give was below-par due to a ridiculously dated Eurovision ruling which insisted he had to create all the sampled vocal noises on the track ‘live’. The single itself, however, was the most sublime release of the year.

Divine could teach most half-arsed eighties revivalists a thing or two about classic, adventurous pop structures. Beginning with a droning keyboard and the Art of Noisey samples the Euro-chiefs seemed to find objectionable, it reveals itself to be a pocket symphony of small, perfectly formed ideas – taking Brian Wilson song structures and making them sound sleek, digital and luxurious.

Tellier’s Sexuality album from the same year was actually rather patchy, but long after the memories of the tracks from that have faded away, Divine stands strong, sounding like pop music at its most thrilling and adventurous. Oh yeah, and naturally, this was never voted into the top half of the Eurovision scoreboard – what world do you think we’re living in, exactly?
Dave Bryant

[Album: Sexuality]

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