There are words here, but that's not what communicates the album's odd graininess. It's the graininess itself—the sonics. Clearly Breaking the Fourth Wall is full of production touches that demand close listening: the way various instrumental combinations in "32 Tonnes de Pigeons" evoke the ambience of a few strains of pre-Beatles music, from early bossa nova to Blue Note jazz; "Discothèque," the album's 11-minute-long beating heart of the album, is dominated by billowing low end: the kick drum has so much depth it might as well be a close-miked tympani, and the bassline bounds similarly. This is a hipster record. It's canny in a way that's clearly studied but is led entirely by feel.
This is hardly a new approach—or maybe just an effect; I don't want anyone to confuse my interpretation with the artist's intentions, of which I have no real idea. OK, fine—they're on Circus Company, a label that is to house what Hyperdub is to dubstep or DFA to the past, a conduit that acts as a refractor. They make French house sound like a DIY funhouse. Breaking is no exception. So forgive me for diving into the weirder wrinkles, because for all its cleverness, Breaking the Fourth Wall is first and foremost approachable. It's leisurely paced without being too indulgent. It keeps unfolding in more ways than one.