At first, I thought Keren Ann's voice was over reminiscent of those seductive, breathy chanteuses who have dominated French popular music for some time. As I lived with the album, I have become more and more impressed with the clarity of her voice and the musical ingenuity displayed in what, at first, feels like quite straightforward acoustic/folk music. "Au coin du monde" and "Ailleurs" stand out for me but I rarely skip any of them. There's no point denying that you lose something if you don't understand French, my enjoyment of the album has increased as I have worked out the lyrics but they are not that difficult and like all good songs sung in a language I don't fully understand, her voice is expressive enough to make an emotional impact. In fact, on her later albums in which she sings in English, I feel she has lost some of that intensity.
There is a relaxed feel throughout this album, and is certainly a mood setter. Well crafted songs complement the soft voice of Keren Ann often with a very simple backing.
This total laid-back nature is in contrast to some of her other albums where dated beats can often cloud her songs. Here we have consistency but not at the expense of drama. Le Sable Mouvant could have come straight out of a Tim Burton film for example.
This is simply beautiful. Keren Ann's voice is a great joy, and her delivery of these fabulous songs is simply beautiful. Modern French music is distinct not least for it's language, but for the quality of the singers. I recommend this to persons enjoying beautifully sung music.