Les Georges Leningrad
Petrochemical rock. Yeah, I’m not too sure what that means either, but it is Les George Leningrad’s self described sound. If the term sounds weird you should hear the band; these guys are nuttier than a Sweet Marie. I recently read an interview with the band, hoping to discover perhaps some idea of who these people were, and what I got was one of the most contradictory/nonsensical pieces of writing I’ve ever had the (mis)fortune of coming across. They not only make ‘challenging’ music but also appear to be genuinely championing a nonsensical attitude that far exceeds the boundaries of mere posturing. There’s something about the way Les George Leningrad approach music. Sure, the weird and dancy thing has been done before (do the B-52’s count?) but with LGL there is this feeling that the band is somewhat disassociated with the music that they are playing, as if a secret formula was responsible for the final product. The songs sound unnatural and leave you waiting to hear what the next crazy mutation is going to be. It comes out sounding like something the Toxic Avenger would have dreamt up (had he made music, instead of fight crime).
Right, the songs. First off, Sur les Traces de Black Eskimo has one of the funniest into’s I’ve ever heard, and while busting a gut, you discover it’s actually the beginning of their first song. “Sponsorships” comes next, quickening the pace and infusing a sort of break beat aesthetic to an otherwise dancy post-punk song. “Black Eskimo” starts off with distant ‘ping’ sounds surrounded by the whooshing of a threatening wind before a clean bass line kicks in and Poney P begins her indecipherable rant. There are a few quieter songs on the album (and some genuinely creepy lapses back into noise), but it is in the frenetic driving beats of disco/post-punk where the band excels. The whole dance rock thing has come and gone due to the abundance of lazy artists who are content in working with the leftovers of the greats. Les Georges Leningrad are far removed from this unfortunate truth, and Sur les Traces de Black Eskimo is another original achievement for the band; slicker than its predecessor yet containing the same dedication to absurdity.
If songs like the left field disco styling of “Supa Doopa” were top 40 hits, we’d all be in a happier place, freaking out on the dance floor while learning a thing or two about the boundaries of ‘dance’ music. This, of course, is all thanks to a small label based in Quebec (Alien8; quite possibly the best indie label Canada has going right now). Their effort to put out experimental work (in all genres, from pop to found sound) has produced some great records which have conglomerated into a very impressive catalogue. Les George Leningrad may not be the most gifted act on this roster, but they are perhaps one of the best examples why taking a chance on a truly alternative band sometimes pays off...big. Thank you for providing something difficult, different and dancy.
- Andrew Iliadis
/jan 15th 2005/