Arriving shortly after his aptly named chamber pop homage Confection, Sébastien Tellier gives that album's romantic feel a Brazilian twist with L'Aventura. Recorded in Bougival and Rio de Janeiro as well as Paris, the album captures the summery feel of samba, bossa nova, and more, yet Tellier's take on the sounds of Brazil never feels touristy or heavy-handed. Several of these songs are actually quite subtle in how they incorporate Brazilian elements, such as "Aller Vers le Soleil"'s gossamer synth pop. When Tellier does emphasize L'Aventura's "tropicale" vibe, he does it with equal finesse. "Love" begins the album with flutes, guira, guitar, dramatic percussion, and breathy choral vocals that create a breezy yet bittersweet mood evoking Sergio Mendes as much as his own easy listening fixation. "Ma Calypso" is an artful collage of bubbly electronics, acoustic guitar, and a host of Brazilian percussion, including everyone's favorite squeaking drum, the cuica. Tellier also returns to the pop side of his music -- which hasn't gotten much play since Sexuality -- with winning results. Not only do songs such as "L'Adulte" reaffirm his way with hooks, they also allow more sounds and colors into the album, whether it's the disco-tinged strings on "Sous les Rayons du Soleil" or the way the closing track, "L'Enfant Vert," plays like a candy-coated version of everything before it. L'Aventura's moods are just as wide-ranging, spanning the mischievous sleaze of "Ricky L'Adolescent" as well as the heady "Comment Revoir Oursinet?," a 14-minute odyssey that teeters between sublime and ridiculous at any given moment. While Confection was arguably more striking in its musical and emotional consistency, here Tellier makes the most of his playful eclecticism. As always, L'Aventura is rife with touches that knowledgeable listeners will appreciate, but anyone with a fondness for smoothly retro mood music with lots of personality will find a lot to enjoy.
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