Yann Tiersen: Dust Lane

"It is when surrounded by mess and dust that everything comes to life again," says Yann Tiersen, and nowhere is this more clear than on ‘Dust Lane’, his seventh studio album. Written and recorded in a season of personal emotional upheaval – Tiersen recently lost both a friend and his mother – ‘Dust Lane’ is an autumnal and melancholic record. Tired of the usual verse-chorus-bridge construction, Tiersen veers off on instinct to produce movements rather than just songs. His usual piano, accordion and violin are all here, adding a ghostly timbre to the otherwise lush and somewhat chaotic orchestration, heightened by swells of fuzz and distortion, and sonic textures of overlapping voice and instrumentation.
The album is big, tense, and always in motion, but tempered with a delicacy that ensures it isn't an overpowering mess. Standout tracks include the dynamic ‘Amy’, the driving ‘Palestine’, and ‘Ashes’, a booming anthem that manages to keep one step away from becoming bombastic. "Fuck Me", the closing track, could be considered a let down: musically, it is a delicate duet with Breton singer Gaelle Kerrien, but the weak chorus of "fuck me fuck me fuck me and make me come again" undermines the maturity and elegance of the song. But perhaps that is the intent, a sly wink to remind the listener that in the midst of darkness and turbulence, there is always light.

Cat Conway