Etron Fou Leloublan are one of the original RIO bands (together with Samla Mammas Manna, Henry Cow, Univers Zero and Stormy Six). It is remarkable what a consistent, high quality output all of those bands have achieved, and Etron Fou Leloublan (EFL) is no exception. Their first albums have a very tight and percussive sound. The first two albums in particular have tense guitar, bass, and drum interplay that always makes me wonder if Talking Heads were inspired by this band on their first albums: Imagine "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads played even more manic, tight and anarchistic, spiced with saxophone bursts, and you have some idea of EFL's sound. Some obvious musical references are Henry Cow, Samlas Mammas Manna and maybe Zappa. On several tracks there are some free rock or free jazz elements, but they rarely venture off into "free-for-all cacophony". Both the lyrics and the music have an anarchistic feel to them, and the vocals are spoken which works great IMO, as they add a welcome humor to their albums.
The albums of the early 80s are perhaps slightly
more accessible than the earlier ones, but the music
is as amazing as ever. The use of Hammond organ gives
it a warmer sound. EFL is an absolutely incredible
band. If you like experimental, RIO, or avant-garde
music, Etron Fou Leloublan is indispensable.
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