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Etron Fou Leloublan - En Public Aux États-Unis d'Amérique CD (album) cover


Etron Fou Leloublan



2.98 | 21 ratings

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3 stars Album number three from les trois fous introduces saxophonist number three, as Bernard Mathieu joins ace rhythm section Ferdinand Richard and Guigou Chenevier for an American tour. This recording is EFL at their most raw and skeletal, with no studio embellishments, and the sound quality is distinctly low-fi, but the album is also full of manic energy and excellent musicianship.

For some bands a live album is a kind of stopgap between studio releases, but EFL presented almost entirely new material along with their new line up. Only one track from their first two albums is featured, Le Fleuve Et Le Manteau, and Christine was the only track would emerge on their next album. There's also an indication of the move to shorter pieces that would characterise their next few releases, and although the surreal narratives still run through the songs they're less prominent, perhaps as a concession to their mostly English speaking audience on these dates. There are no great surprises in store, however, and the wild Beefheart inspired rhythms and free jazz excursions are still in place. There are some highly effective moments throughout the album; the second half of Christine sees Chenevier leaving the drum kit to play tenor sax alongside Mathieu, while Rose slows the pace down with a surprisingly straightforward vocal and minimal percussion. An Afternoon At The Zoo is a percussion only workout that is full of odd twists and turns, and Atarte is a brief snippet of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata rearranged for sax, bass and drums. The CD reissue has two later tracks, one a 1985 studio reinterpretation of a Boris Vian song and a live recording from 1986, both featuring keyboard player Jo Thirion and the first also featuring Fred Frith.

This album demonstrates just how much EFL could do with their stripped down line up, and in particular it showcases the phenomenal rhythm section of Richard and Chenevier. The quantity of material unavailable elsewhere and the sheer energy of these performances make this a real treat for an established fan, but the sound quality and the occasionally grating vocals may be heavy going for a newcomer.

Syzygy | 3/5 |


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