|Les Georges Leningrad
by Christopher Patterson
For the first two tracks, Montreal’s Les Georges Leningrad sounds like a rip-off of Godspeed, You Black Emperor!. It is brisk and ambient, and features lines that might have come from old movie scripts. Then, suddenly, the band breaks into disengaging chords, a droning voice and a sense of total anarchy comparable only to the unintelligible “Lieds” of Atari Teenage Riot. I see lovely pictures in this type of mayhem: Horses with black leather. Foreigners in strap-ons.
But this sudden leap in style isn’t the only one in the album. Just when the “strap-on” rock of the first third seems like the most unpredictable element in any album I’ve ever heard, around track five I suddenly get Indian tribal chants mixed with voracious hand drums. At this point I take a look at the pictures of the band members on the back of the album and realize their ultimate goal—to induce a completely psychological “high” free of other “influences.” And it’s working.
As soon as the hand-drums are replaced by deep monotone vocals, the production seems to go nasty. I’m all for underground rock, but here some serious mixing work on the vocal range would have helped. There seems to be no real balance or equilibrium between the singer and accompaniment—call it “garage rock” if you want, it still sounds like clacking rocks.
In the end, one may find comfort in the suspicion that this band, if listened to repeatedly for hours on end, may end up sounding marvelous. There’s something hypnotic about a copious amount of dissonance, though I would suggest that only the truly intrepid of listeners devote themselves to it.
In general, giving ample ear time to Leningrad feels like walking into any random scene from Natural Born Killers… while on shrooms.