Alibi V.21 No.25 • June 21-27, 2012 

Sonic Reducer

The Daredevil Christian Wright is most easily described as an American, even-more-baroque-feeling Belle & Sebastian. The sound on this, the second album, perhaps answers the question, What would happen if Nick Drake had written songs for The Beach Boys? The production emphasis could have been on the outstanding harmonies these three classically trained singers achieve, but instead the vocals nestle nicely among the easy listening indie music. It only occasionally sounds like three Geddy Lees singing at once. Great music to fall asleep to. (Geoffrey Plant)

Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (Epic)

Extreme narcissism is played out in repetitious, alliterative, rhyming verse over discordant, jazzy piano parts and sporadic percussion. Apple’s alienated (and rather clichéd) art-teest personage is not only preserved, it’s magnified—she created the album art too. The tracks “Left Alone” and “Werewolf” are palatable, and this is clearly honest work. But, due to the cockamamy melodies and thematic insularity, any catharsis (a main purpose for listening to music) is reserved solely for the mopey alto-voiced musician behind it. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

I like to think that I’m not one of those silly people who mindlessly puts all things French on a pedestal for worship. But when it comes to pop and electro, I am, sadly, a despicable American Francophile. (I even like laughably awful items like Jocelyne’s “Nitty Gritty” cover—it’s really bad.) So while I enjoy Sébastien Tellier’s new album wherein he poses as a Christlike figure and creates both sweeping ambient tracks and funky disco club jams, I’m not sure my judgment can be trusted. It’s also worth mentioning that his video for “Cochon Ville” depicts a circus-like orgy—complete with full-frontal male nudity. Oh là là là là. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)