Release Date: Apr 17, 2012
Record label: Anti
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Experimental Rock, French Pop
During his diverse career, Yann Tiersen has provided the unforgettable atmospherics to Amélie and collaborated on his solo records with icons like Jane Birkin and Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser. The Frenchman’s new album Skyline finds him in a très existential state of mind, and its tracks are beautiful storms for restless times (“Another Shore,” “The Gutter”). Sigur Rós producer Ken Thomas’ mixing works magic with Tiersen’s dense aural layering, making every song like a journey through a forest of emotions.
Yann Tiersen is somewhat of an anomaly and has been placed under heavy scrutiny since exploding onto the world’s radar with his soundtrack for Amelie. He’s never considered himself a composer yet continues to compose for films and create albums worth of songs that play out like legitimate scores and compositions. Skyline is no exception to this, and it’s stronger for it, showcasing Tiersen at the current height of his abilities.
Short-sighted, unfair and ignorant: music fans in the western world are a fickle bunch, but it would be crass to tar them all with the same brush. However when it comes to the music of Yann Tiersen these are appropriate adjectives for the majority of us who are familiar with him simply as The Guy Who Did The Soundtrack To Amelie (I can claim innocence in this respect, having discovered him when studying Goodbye Lenin, which he also contributed the soundtrack to). With a further two scores, numerous collaborations and contributions, not to mention six studio albums to his name, it is doing Tiersen an injustice to remember him solely for aiding numerous indie kid crushes a full decade ago.
On Skyline, Yann Tiersen goes further down the path he forged on Dust Lane, moving away from the delicate, keyboard-driven reveries that marked early work such as the tracks collected for the Amélie score or the music for Good Bye Lenin! and toward a post-rock-tinged sound that, despite its differences, is just as widescreen-ready. While the galloping rhythms and swift melody of "Forgive Me" are most like the works that won Tiersen a legion of film buff fans, most of Skyline evokes comparisons to other artists. The bursts of instant-gratification guitars on "Another Shore" could come just as easily from Smashing Pumpkins' "Today" or from Mogwai, while twinkly, bittersweet tunes like "I'm Gonna Live Anyhow" and "The Trial" call to mind Múm or Morr Music acts such as Borko; still elsewhere, the lush romanticism of "The Gutter"'s dream pop recalls Saturdays=Youth-era M83 and the odd mix of screaming, toy piano, and glockenspiel on "Exit 25 Block 20" seems like something Fuck Buttons would attempt.