Les George Leningrad

Montreal's Les George Leningrad should be absolutely unbearable. They're still steeped in the post-punk and no-wave revivals, several years after those crazes faded. The kitschy riffs and garbled pseudo-English bring them dangerously close to electroclash, another dated moment in recent indie history. Their stage show is more performance art than stand-and-deliver rock, and the Montreal trio regularly flirts with deadly pretension. As Canadians, they're genetically predisposed to blandness. But despite all that's working against them, the originators of "petro-chemical rock" consistently come up with music that's as entertaining as it is heady. Their latest, Sangue Puro, is like a drunken spree through the Rough Trade discography and a bombed-out Radio Shack, while somehow avoiding the curse of avant-moodiness. Poney P.'s spastic vocals dance across rudimentary drums and caterwauling synths with a remarkable lack of attitude; even when you factor in Les George's strong leftie leanings, the impish glee is strong enough to make you forget all their liabilities. If nothing else, anyone ordinarily scared off by skronky, political foreigners in cartoonish costumes can rest assured that Les George Leningrad find themselves as ridiculous as you do.
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Nathaniel Friedman