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Album Review

Coralie Clément's third album, 2009's Toystore, takes the singer's winsomeness and delicacy to a whole new level. As the title implies, this album is brimming with cutie-pie instrumentation (toy Farfisas, glockenspiels, and ukuleles, just to name a few); it's the kind of thing that brings to mind Cake on Cake, Yann Tiersen (particularly his work for the movie Amelie), and Detektivbyrån. Benjamin Biolay's arrangements, intricate as clockwork, mingle pleasantly with Clément's romantic, wistful vocals. On the surface the instrumentation might seem simple and childlike, but Biolay manages to work a good helping of darkness, even malevolence, into the twinkling sounds of these diminutive instruments, and it results in some puckish, charming-as-heck music. "C'est la Vie," "So Long Babylon," and "Sono Io" are dark in the way a fairy tale or a marionette show can be dark; the syrupy-sweet materials belie the darkness and complexity stirring beneath the surface. There are a few moments when this sugariness becomes tad cloying — one track in particular, "Je Ne Sens Plus Ton Amour," a cabaret-style piano-driven duet featuring Etienne Daho, is a bit too soggy-sweet, like cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk. Surprisingly, this has less to do with the toy instruments than it does with the piano arrangement and the overripe production; Clément and Daho sound a bit too slick and theatrical here. Toystore probably won't be remembered as one of Clément's best albums, seeing as it sounds so cute it's almost kooky. Still, it's an interesting, and well-made, detour from the chic, windswept, and wistful fare found on her previous two albums.

Customer Reviews

Absolutely amazing.

I've got many of her albums and they are all incredible. This one included. Spice up you life by including this into your day.


Born: 1982 in Villefranche-sur-Saône, France

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '00s

Sounding more like such classic '60s French pop vocalists as Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy - distilled with the breathy bossa nova of Astrud Gilberto -- than her contemporaries, Coralie Clément released her first album in 2002, Salle des Pas Perdus. The record is a collaborative effort between her and author/composer/performer - and Coralie's brother - Benjamin Biolay, who wrote and arranged all of the 12 songs. Born into a musical family in Villefranche-sur-Saone, France, Coralie could identify...
Full Bio
Toystore, Coralie Clément
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