I confess I do really like Yann Tiersen's work, so I was kindly disposed to this album before I heard it. Although on the other hand my expectations were high.
In either case, this is a record I have to wean myself off overplaying, it is that good.
Like all great recordings it takes a couple of playings before you peel away enough layers to discover the true magic, but then the layers keep on coming.
Initially like some sort of wacky Michael Nyman / Polyphonic Spree hybrid, this contains many Yann characteristic touches (instrumentation especially) but 'Amelie ' it certainly ain't.
Most of the tracks are songs, with the lyrics in English, although it is the ubėr-paired down 'lyrics' of 'Palestine' that really move (buy it to hear what I mean).
Clearly Tiersen is a prolific and seemingly effortless creator of melodies, and from listen-one it will have you humming along. I'm no expert but I'd also say his musicianship is outrageously high, although his virtuoso violin playing is even more apparent on some of his older records.
This is easily, really easily, my album of 2010. (Beating off Arcade Fire's 'The Suburbs' and I am Kloot's "Sky at Night" to let you glimpse my tastes). But tastes notwithstanding, I think anyone with ears would struggle to dislike this record. There is nothing that they could have added to, or taken away from, it that would constitute an improvement in my opinion. It's not a very long album, but every moment is obviously carefully considered and beautifully constructed.
The vinyl pressing (which comes with a cd) is of very high quality, but I review it here in the hope more people may see/read and realise that this is a very silly price for a truly magical album.