For his fifth studio album, Confection, French producer Sébastien Tellier steps away from the seductive electro and disco-pop that made his name, and releases what is is perhaps his most naturalistic album to date. Lush string arrangements combine with soft percussion and intricate piano melodies to make for a suitably sweet selection of tracks. It's a largely instrumental release, with only a few tracks featuring vocals; such as lead single 'L'Amour Naissant'. In fact Tellier has stated that this release was written more like a soundtrack, which is why taking a cursory glance at the track listing will reveal several tracks bearing similar names.

Confection comes at a time when more and more pop and rock musicians are applying themselves to the task of creating soundtracks, often resulting in truly stunning releases. There's been Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' work for The Road and The Assassination of Jesse James, Jonny Greenwood's gorgeous scores for The Master and Norwegian Wood, as well as Clint Mansell's haunting work for Moon and Stoker. Which makes it interesting to see a musician like Tellier creating a soundtrack completely un-prompted, for there is no film to accompany Confection.

As befits a good soundtrack, the 14 songs of Confection, generally work pretty well together. Aside from middle track 'Waltz', which utilises a whirling keyboard lead that's particularly jarring given the tracks around it, the whole thing flows beautifully from one track to another. Over a relatively short 35 minutes there are a number of repeated motifs that help to give a sense of an underlying narrative thread.

The recurring 'L' Armour Naissant' tracks are particular highlights. All three feature jazz drumming and a gorgeous string backing, but each manages to retain its own character. The first features a rare Tellier vocal, that's perhaps his finest performance yet - it has that seductive charm that seems unique to Frenchmen like Tellier and Serge Gainsbourg. Underneath is a piano melody similar to the one from 'La Ritournelle' from Politics. It's the closest he gets to a pop-song on this record. The second seems to have been recorded in an empty baroque hall, the sound of the piano echoing. Whilst its third appearance features a much clearer, deep bass and seemingly grander, louder strings. The two 'Curiosa' tracks however, are opposites of one another. The first is a piano solo, the second is a string arrangement of almost exactly the same music, except with plucked violins and swirling strings.

There is no doubt that Confection is a very technically accomplished record, but the question remains as to its purpose - it is in effect a soundtrack to nothing. With the examples listed above the experience of seeing the associated film increases the impact of the music; they were after all written as accompaniments to a visual piece. For Tellier's record there is no companion piece with which to provide context or increase our understanding of the narrative created by the music. Stylistically the music suggests romanticism, but there is also an overwhelming melodrama to the whole thing which makes it unclear to the listener whether this is a serious tale, or something more playful.

The album also has a uncertain place within Tellier's back catalogue. After years of creating sexually charged, and sometimes cheesy, synth-pop this more instrumental and ambiguous release seems a rather abrupt change in direction. Maybe this is a creative endeavour that Tellier felt was necessary to make - he certainly has form with soundtracks, creating the score for Narco in 2007. Or, maybe the whole thing is simply an artist creating music by playing within a technical framework to produce something far more malleable for the listener. After all, what's to stop someone from using this soundtrack for their own purposes, to inspire a new creative endeavour, or simply become a soundtrack for moments within their own life. Isn't that what music is for?