We all know the French aren’t like us. Whether in politics, food, philosophy, or a languorous joie de vivre that the typical rushed American can’t comprehend, they seem to understand how to live.
As Sébastien Tellier will exhibit at 9 p.m. in Harris tonight, this difference can sometimes lead to really sexy music. His newest album, “Sexuality,” proceeds slowly and sensuously, with Tellier’s breathy, expressive voice anchoring every song. From the strangely Beach Boys-esque “Divine” to the slinky, over-the-top “Pomme,” which is anchored by the sounds of a female orgasm, Tellier both expands electronic music and infuses it with a dreamy organic feeling.
His music is both so distinctive and so listenable that it doesn’t fit in anywhere. “Divine” was nominated for the Eurovision awards, a source of much controversy in France since the song features little French (unlike much of Tellier’s other work, especially his early two albums, “L’Incroyable Verité (The Incredible Truth) and “Politics”).
Tellier converted some of the lyrics to French to sing on the show, and the eventual performance featured five backup singers sporting the same long beard and sunglasses that he always wears.
With these elements to his music and performance, Tellier wouldn’t be a likely pick for a “typical” French crooner, if one even exists. Classifying him as a crooner becomes even more difficult when one Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (one half of Daft Punk), the producer and sometimes beat-maker for “Sexuality”, comes into the picture. Though Tellier’s voice by itself will probably never storm the dorm lounges like Daft Punk, the combination of his voice and Christo’s beats could be filling the dorm bedrooms soon.
In an interrupted interview, Tellier said that the current tour “was really short”, but was going “really great.” He thought that the continual references in interviews to Daft Punk were “a good way to follow me, to get publicity.” He also maintained that any concert space would work for him (though he hasn’t seen Harris yet). “The venue doesn’t matter,” he said.
What matters to Tellier is the performance, what he described as “the lights in my face.” With the help of Brooklyn dance punkers Lemonade, whom the BBC described as “pure, agile, hedonistic pop music,” it should be an evening that helps us realize why we love the French. And their “Sexuality.”