Albin de la Simone

An interesting album from a new and talented Frenchman, this début nevertheless suffers the same sort of identity crisis many first such albums do. There are many jazzy, fluffy moments that make you feel like you're walking about the Seine on a sunny day, including the charming intro ("Ils cueillent des jonquilles" [They pick daffodils]) and the folksy, off-kilter "Ton pommier," but there are also mildly obnoxious europop moments ("avant tout, I want you", the second track, even), slink ("Elle aine," with guest Feist singing her other Canadian language), pensive impressionism ("Délice"), even a bit of baroque rock ("Tu es là"). I wasn't too enamoured of some of the derivative pieces on the second half (the dull "Cigare" and the aimless "Les piranhas" in particular), but while he may be stylistically tres confus at times there is one brilliant track that manages to tie it all together, the seventh and best ("Quand j'aurai du temps" [When I have time]), springy, zesty, complex and far too short. (My second favourite, "Amour, amitié" [Love, friendship], the album's brooding vibrato-laden closer.) As unfocused as it is there's a lot here to like, and even if his style never settles the skill in this unusual yet appealing first effort is still reward enough. (Content: couldn't find a problem, but my French is terrible.)