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Les trois fou's perdégagnent (Au pays des...)

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Album Review

The full title of Étron Fou Leloublan's second album is Les Trois Fous Perdégagnent (Au Pays Des...), which could translate to "The Three Fools Lose'n'win (In the Land Of...)" — granted, it doesn't make more sense in English than in French. On this opus from 1978, Francis Grand picks up the saxophone where Chris Chanet (aka Eulalie Ruynat) had left it. Despite his inventive growls and screams, he simply cannot tame the devastating rhythm section (and madcap creativity) of Ferdinand Richard and Guigou Chenevier. This album is a studio construction, filled with overdubs and intro/outro collages. The group has gained better knowledge of the possibilities offered by a recording studio, but still operates on a shoestring budget. The writing marks a step forward in cohesion, excitement, and zaniness. Instrumental tunes and passages are complex and fast (the opener, "Face à l'Extravagante Montée...," makes a good example). The songs absolutely make no sense, part Henry Cow circa In Praise of Learning, part pataphysical surrealism and circus freak show (the Mothers of Invention meet Camembert Electrique-era Gong). The album culminates in "Le Désastreux Voyage du Piteux Python" (The Disastrous Journey of the Pitiful Python), a loosely knit narrative backed by illustrative music and dominated by the many voices of Chenevier. French proficiency is not that important to appreciate Étron Fou's provocative Rock in Opposition, but you'd better have a sense of humor. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Formed: 1974

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

French art-rock unit Etron Fou Leloublan -- roughly translated, "Mad Sh*t, the White Wolf" -- was formed in 1974 by vocalist Eulalie Ruynat, bassist/vocalist Ferdinand Richard, saxophonist Chris Chanet, and drummer Guigou Chenevier. A product of the Rock in Opposition coalition -- a loose collective of British and Western European artists, spearheaded by Henry Cow, that openly challenged the commercial, creative, and sociopolitical aims of mass-market popular music -- Etron Fou Leloublan boasted...
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Les trois fou's perdégagnent  (Au pays des...), Etron Fou Leloublan
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