It's too easy to take Buckingham for granted
par Bernard Perusse
dans The Ottawa Citizen, 11 septembre 2011



The Last Assassins

By The Last Assassins Dare to Care


When the first thing you hear is a vocalist shouting "Shut up! Shut the (expletive) up!," you know the artist is not looking to get cozy with either the person addressed or, by extension, the listener.

And at no point during the selftitled disc by The Last Assassins, Montreal Jean Leloup's gritty, grimy garage trio, do things get any warmer or fuzzier (Well, the guitar gets way fuzzier). This music is as dark, dirty and desolate as it comes, evoking the Velvet Underground's toxic sneer, the nihilistic sloppiness of Tonight's the Night-era Neil Young and the menacing swagger of the Stooges. Not to mention more recent back-to-basics revivalists like the White Stripes and the Black Keys. If The Last Assassins suggest any 1976 punk roots, they're of the New York - not the London - variety.

All of which means, of course, that the album is a breath of fresh air - a welcome antidote to a landscape of pathetic pop, dreamt up and executed by machines.

The group - Leloup on guitar with poets Virginia Tangvald and Mathieu Leclerc on vocals, and some no-nonsense bass and drums to keep the motor running - came together only a year ago. The three were working on the soundtrack of the film Karaoke Dream, written and directed by Leloup, and some jam sessions surrounding that project took on a life of their own. This disc came out of that experience.

Its strength is that no one ever seems to overthink. If a flub makes its way into a song or if someone shifts to the next bar a bit too quickly, so be it. This sounds like a real band, with its members playing in the same room, where a recorder just happens to be running.

Not that these guys don't have the chops: Leloup goes almost Hendrix on Ecstasy while bassist Hugo Chaput shadows him furiously.

Although Leloup tries his best to be "just the guitarist" in this project, his playing is what you wait for - whether he's being deliberately ragged on the sinister The Wheel, punching in choppy riffs in On the Take or just flat-out going for it on For Anyone, in which his solo has such insane twang that it sounds like the hand of Goliath yanking on industrial cable.

The group wouldn't be what it is without the shades-on, Lou Reed-ish detachment of Leclerc's low drawl on If You Do It Again and Rodeo Girl. Nor would it work its magic quite so well without Tangvald, who can sound kittenish when she sings in a higher register, as she does on Invisible Time, or seem worrisomely unhinged, as on Minerals, in which she taunts more than sings.

Like Nick Cave's Grinderman or Daniel Lanois's Black Dub, this is one side project that stands up forcefully on its own.

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Dernière mise à jour le 12 septembre 2011.
Conception: SD