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TRISOMIE 21 (Buy CDs by this artist)
Million Lights (Play It Again Sam) 1987
Works (Play It Again Sam) 1989
T21 Plays the Pictures (Play It Again Sam) 1990

Although Trisomie 21 (whose lineup includes a full member credited with "advice and assistance") has an extensive back catalogue of records at home, America has only recently begun enjoying the French quartet's unsettling mutation of lush techno-pop with industrial dance ingredients. Alternating discrete songs with bilingual semi-tuneless vocals and Hervé Lomprez's intriguing instrumentals, Million Lights is a continually shifting soundscape, combining keyboards, guitar, percussion, sound effects and other elements in a nicely moderated loud/soft pleasant/disturbing environment that never turns sonically hostile.

Works, however, is a hapless stab at suave continental electro-pop (including, in "The Missing Piece," a futile attempt to copy New Order), an awful album that downplays the group's adventurous side to showcase Philippe Lomprez's inept crooning, a laughable approximation of Maurice Chevalier imitating Bryan Ferry. Besides a tendency to drift along aimlessly, like Pink Floyd at its most dissolute, the spare and delicately atmospheric Plays the Pictures — a concept album based around movies and their music — searches out surprising contrasts through frequent use of incongruous samples.

[Ira Robbins]