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Etron Fou Leloublan - Batelages CD (album) cover

BATELAGES

Etron Fou Leloublan

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.42 | 37 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Of all the signataires of the RIO chart, EFL was one of the younger bands (along with UZ), having released their debut album in 76 and to say the least, it was an amateurish release in terms of production (although in some ways it's remarkable as well). The group's backbone is the rhythm section, while the sax frontmen will change after almost every album, even if it is Chris Chanet, the present sax player, that started this group in Grenoble (France's main Alp city) and had them play their first concert in a Magma support slot. Back in 74.

Their debut album sees the group's spectrum ranging from a very raw Gong (Malherbe-like sax, cosmic/dementia bruitages and non-sensical humour) to an almost punk brutality. I would even add to the Gong that the EFL continuing pair of Chevenier (drums) and Richard (bass & the occasional guitar) is at least on par with a few GonG's ever-changing rhythm section. Indeed Chevenier's mastery of the drums and other percussions allows him to have even two drum solo sufficiently entertaining for this proghead's usual skipping/zapping tolerances. While their 18-mins "epic" Amulette, followed by the 3- mins drum solo Sololo Brigida is certainly worth a listen, it's mostly side 2's tracks that will hold more interest.

Apart from the slapstick ultra-short Yvette's Blouse (and what's inside), there is only two more tracks, even if one is divided. Indeed Madame Richard (mostly likely Ferdinand's mommy) holds some rather dissonant mood before finally finding its demented plot straight, with Malherbian improvs and Pixie rhythms by the time it is called Larika. The closing 11-mins Histoires De Graines returns to the rough madness of the previous Amulette track with their drunken Beefheart rawness and a Hammillian way of unleashing a sonic chaos.

It's obvious that a good mastery of French is a plus for enjoyment of EFL's oeuvre, but the singing is always clearly intelligible that even those with a lesser French should follow the lyrics in the booklet without much problems. Not that these lyrics are that profound at all, they're often verging on the silly, despite the usual force at which they're delivered, going as far as shouting or yelling, not that there is that much of texts into this debut album, rather than in their follow-ups. In either case, I find Batelages quite interesting and despite its GonG influences, its definitely one of France's mosrt remarkable debut album. Definitely worth a shot, but be warned.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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