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Jean Michel Jarre - Teo & Tea

Jean Michel Jarre, Teo and Tea

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ELECTRONIC pioneer Jean Michel Jarre returns with another ambitious concept album in the form of Teo & Tea, a boy-meets-girl story for a modern age that mixes sensual dance music with a narrative element.

The album marks Jarre’s first album since 2004’s acclaimed Aero and continues to stretch the innovator – albeit with varying degrees of success.

Jarre has, of course, been plying his trade since 1976 and the release of his seminal Oxygene debut which sold 12 million copies and remains unparalleled in French history. In total, Jarre’s music has sold 60 million albums world-wide.

But it’s not just his music that seeks to push boundaries – as the artist is equally renowned for his live shows, including a post-Mao concert in China in the ’80s. Indeed, Jarre has broken his own entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest attendance at a concert on three occasions.

One can only imagine what he will do when he takes Teo & Tea on the road.

What’s most impressive about the album, however, is just how contemporary it sounds. Jarre, like all the best survivalists and innovators, knows how to refine his sound to appeal to all generations, whilst remaining careful to remain true to his roots.

On several occasions, you can tell it’s Jarre if you’ve listened to any of his back catalogue – and yet newcomers will still think there’s material here to sit comfortably alongside some of the biggest names on the Ibiza club scene (Gossip, for instance, or the title track itself).

And in spite of its narrative approach, the album maintains a consistent level of energy that’s perfectly tailored for dancefloor appeal.

Teo & Tea is incredibly lively and sets the tone for the tracks that follow.

It’s just that if you pine for the cinematic scope of Jarre’s music, or the more atmospheric, there’s not much here to satisfy.

Tracks like Beautiful Agony are geared towards the younger generation and drop tantalising sex sounds along the way, while OK, Do It Fast are as pumped up as their name suggests. It’s thrilling stuff at times – but not as diverse as some of Jarre’s work.

Of the highlights, Partners in Crime 1 & 2 do, at least, slow down the pace and assume a cinematic quality more in keeping with the score of a 007 or Jason Bourne soundtrack, while Touch To Remember is a particular stand-out – sexy, chic and very, very atmospheric in the way that only Jarre knows how.

As evidence of an artist who constantly strives to push himself forward and experiment, Teo & Tea gets our vote – it’s just that it probably won’t be considered as essential as some of his defining work in years to come.

Download picks: Teo & Tea, Touch To Remember, Partners in Crime 1 & 2

Track listing:

  1. Fresh News
  2. Teo & Tea
  3. Beautiful Agony
  4. Touch To Remember
  5. OK, Do IT First
  6. Partners In Crime
  7. Partners In Crime 2
  8. Chatterbox
  9. In The Mood For You
  10. Gossip
  11. Vintage
  12. Melancholic Rodeo
  13. TeoTea 4.00 AM