S?bastien Schuller is a classically trained percussionist whose work has evolved over the years to incorporate electronica and other ambient leanings. This record mixes all his instrumental sound explorations, acoustic and electric, mixing in a little pop. The result is a dreamscape that is melancholy and somber, if playful. That the title of the record is the exact opposite of the mood expressed, however, is a little more heavy-handed than ironic. By track two, we get it.
By turns contemplative and content, Schuller obviously loves playing with sound, and here his palette is large. ?1978? and ?Donkey Boy? channel Erik Satie, while ?Tears Coming Home? and ?Wolf? would have the spotlight in any set by Bright Eyes or Radiohead. Though sad, the emotional tone of the record is also brimming with life, and ultimately does not drag itself down in self-pity or pretension. His constant musical inventiveness saves the day more than once.
With repeated listens, tracks like ?Weeping Willow? and ?Where We Had Never Gone? transition from surface pop tunes to reveal a more ambiguous ambition. Even where the sound is more pedestrian, as on Ride along the Cliff?, the challenging yet simple percussion hints at something deeper. The instrumental final track, ?Le Dernier Jour?, winds up the record with a full expression of the discomfort that underlies even the record?s more hopeful work.
Despite there being only two instrumentals, and Schuller uses voice to varying degrees of power, subtlety and annoyance, this feels like an instrumental record. Perhaps it is because it is in the compositions where all the wild things are. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (11 September, 2006)