Yellow Tricycle

A Lovers Prayer

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The fifth album by Saez, A Lovers Prayer is the French singer/songwriter's first full-length English-language effort and finds him adopting a new moniker, Yellow Tricycle. A Lovers Prayer is something of a return to form for Saez, whose previous album, Varsovie - L'Alhambra - Paris (2008), was a difficult and rather depressing triple-album opus performed in an acoustic chanson française style. In contrast, A Lovers Prayer is an alternative rock album that harks back to material on his first three albums, Jours Étranges (1999), God Blesse (2002), and Debbie (2004). The similarities between A Lovers Prayer and Saez's early albums rather than his most recent is, in part, because many of the Yellow Tricycle songs date back to the four-year period separating Debbie from Varsovie . This was a dark period for Saez. In 2005 he left Universal Music and embarked on a so-called "piano and voice" tour. He then experienced a heart-wrenching breakup with his girlfriend, a Polish woman named Katarzyna, who was the inspiration for Varsovie. In the midst of this dark period, between 2006 and 2007, he uploaded four Yellow Tricycle songs to the Internet ("Killing the Lambs," "Numb," "Yellow Tricycle," "White Noise") and performed another three in concert ("Is It OK?," "Pill for the Ride," "Helicopters"). It's curious to hear these seven songs refashioned years later for release on A Lovers Prayer, along with five others. They're performed here in a style reminiscent of Radiohead circa The Bends (1995). The resemblance between Saez's English-language vocals and those of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is striking. A Lovers Prayer can be split into two halves: with the exception of the acoustic title track, the first six songs are full-throttle alternative rockers that pack a punch, in particular "White Noise," whereas the second half of the album, from "Ghost Downtown" onward, is languid, melancholic, and hazy like the title track. For an album of leftover material, A Lovers Prayer is impressive. This is no run-of-the-mill odds-and-sods album, make no mistake. It's another in a series of remarkable releases by Saez, who never ceases to surprise with each full-length effort.

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