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Album Review: SebastiAn - Thirst

SebastiAn finds a duality in light and dark, molding some star features into his French electro vision.

SebastiAn has released his first album in eight years Thirst. He has been prolific producing for other artists like Frank Ocean and Charlotte Gainsbourg, but this is his first LP since his 2011 breakout Total. Packed with stars on this record like Syd, Mayer Hawthorne and Charlotte Ginsberg, he uses his cache and connections to bring the most out of every song.

The album opens with the title track “Thirst” that embodies the whole sound of the record. It starts soft and then builds up into gritty French electro, often the same route many songs on Thirst take.

Syd is a great accompaniment to “Doorman,” softly cooing about a man who needs to get out of her life after cheating on her.

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“Better Now” is one of the better tracks on the record, combining emotional piano and vocals from Mayer Hawthorne, with the subtle grinding of a sub bass to provide contrasting views on what it means to be “better.”

“Pleasant” continues the patter of those contrasting sounds with gritty bass and the gentle voice of Charlotte Gainsbourg. “Sober” has the sound of an early Kid Cudi song with fluttering synths and Bakar’s airy voice. The soaring French electro we heard at the end of the 00’s and into the beginning of the 2010’s comes into full focus with “Time To Talk” and “Beograd.” Thirst eventually finishes after more twists and turns with the triumphant “Run For Me,” which bridges his own electronic production with Gallant’s soaring R&B vocals.

There is darkness to this album that is often interspersed with beautiful, light moments. Whether it is a vocal from Charlotte Gainsbourg, a cheery synth line or dark electro, the album finds a way to combine these two opposing elements into tracks without clashing. The album covers a lot of ground and works with artists from across the musical spectrum. All of this is shaped by the Frenchman’s uncompromising vision of modern electronic music with pop, R&B and orchestral flourishes.

Thirst is out now and can be streamed or purchased here

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