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Etron Fou Leloublan - Les Poumons Gonflés CD (album) cover


Etron Fou Leloublan



4.08 | 45 ratings

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4 stars Rating: A-

Avant-garde progressive music has always made room for jokers, from the notorious Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa to the multitude of largely unknown bands for whom it's obvious that, if nothing else, they had a lot of fun producing the music. Along with The Residents and the two mentioned above, Etron Fou Leloublan were among the biggest tomfoolers of them all. On their debut, they wrote an eighteen minute epic around a fairy-tale ode to a rabbit.On Les Poumons Gonfles, none of that humor is lost, musically or lyrically ("Christine" has lyrics about doing nefarious deeds with a woman's undergarments).

More important than that affirmation that Etron Fou Leloublan is still producing the crazy [&*!#] of the white wolf - the English translation of their name - is that they have, on Les Poumons Gonfles, honed their music to the highest level it would ever see and, as a result, produced their masterpiece. They are no longer a threesome, as Jo Thirion has joined on keyboards. Whether its her entrance into the band or the fact that it was the first (and last) time the band kept its saxophonist for two consecutive albums, Les Poumons Gonfles is Etron Fou's most focused, accessible release.

Of course, take the word "accessible" with a grain of salt. It's more accessible than their other work not because it's less out there, but because it is tighter and more focused. Indeed, "Christine" has Etron Fou's tightest grooves, which makes it fairly approachable (and indeed one of their best songs), but it still has a section where it explodes into manic yelling, dissonant saxophone whines, and drums that give new meaning to the phrase "off the wall." And "Christine" is the rule on Les Poumons Gonfles, not the exception. "Nicolas" opens the CD with one of the band's catchiest melodies, and "Nicole" finds itself quite beautiful, at least by Etron Fou Leloublan. And, in case there was any doubt about Guigou Chenevrier's formidable drumming abilities (which are the highlight of the CD), there is "Exposition Universelle", a just under two minute drum solo that manages to show off without sounding pretentious, and, more importantly, it actually sounds really good and is a valuable asset to the CD.

Anybody who's looking to get into Etron Fou Leloublan would do well to start with Les Poumons Gonfles (or the follow up, Les Sillons de la Terre), as it's their tightest, most accessible, best CD. It has impeccable musicianship, tremendous flow, and strong songwriting. It's catchy and quirky, humorous enough to sound like Etron Fou Leloublan, serious enough to sound professional. It's a snapshot of an excellent band at the top of their game, and no music collection is complete without it. An essential masterpiece.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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