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Album review: Sebastian's 'Total'

July 5, 2011 |  8:30 am

Sebastian_ Part of the same très-chic French scene that produced Daft Punk and Justice, Sebastian built a following among dance-music fans with appealingly grimy remixes of songs by the Rapture and Bloc Party, among many others. Now he’s releasing his first full-length of original material, and with excellent timing, too: Daft Punk’s classically minded score for last year’s “Tron: Legacy” disappointed some beat fiends, while Justice fans are growing impatient for the follow-up to that duo’s acclaimed 2007 debut. Sebastian may not boast the pop-philosophical gravitas of either of those acts, but he’s got an undeniable flair for layering trashy techno-rock textures over hard-thumping disco-metal grooves.

Several cuts on “Total” suggest ambitions deeper than European fashion-show ubiquity: “Love in Motion,” featuring vocals by L.A. retro-soul singer Mayer Hawthorne, is a funked-up R&B jam with some of Prince’s gender-bending élan. His door — like his window of opportunity— is open, ladies.

—Mikael Wood

Sebastian
“Total”
(Ed Banger/Because/Big Beat/Atlantic)
Two and a half stars

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