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En public aux États-Unis d'Amérique

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Album Review

In 1979 the French avant-garde trio Etron Fou Leloublan achieved something no other French rock band had done before: the group toured the United States. A document of the event was in order and En Public aux États-Unis d'Amérique came out on the small French label Celluloid in 1980. Gazul reissued it on CD in 1998. Recorded in New York and Hartford, CT, this album showcases a new Etron Fou Leloublan; saxophonist Bernard Mathieu had joined the band (Guigou Chenevier on drums, Ferdinand Richard on bass and vocals) only weeks before the tour and most of the material was new.

The raw energy and irreverent humor of the band is optimal on this recording, and compensates for the poor sound quality. All lyrics are in French and depict surrealistic situations. The music is aggressive, deconstructed rock powered by Chenevier's inventive drumming. Highlights include "Ida Trop Tard" (Ida Too Late), "Le Fleuve et le Marteau" (The River and the Hammer), and "Un Après-Midi au Zoo" (An Afternoon to the Zoo), the latter being a percussion solo. "Binet d'Eau Chaude" is an example of the band's sense of the immediate. The Gazul reissue adds two bonus tracks: "La Java des Bombes Atomiques" is a rendition of Boris Vian's classic song with keyboardist Jo Thirion and Fred Frith guesting on guitar (a studio recording from 1985); "Blanc" is an original composition recorded live in 1986.

Enjoyable to the fan, En Public aux États-Unis d'Amérique would not make a good place to start for the newcomer (mainly because of the less-than-average sound quality). ~ 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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