Téléphone

Dure Limite

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French post-punk rockers Telephone's third album passed by all but unnoticed outside of their native land, but actually racks up as their strongest album ever. That a characteristically vast Bob Ezrin production plays its own part in that is, of course, inevitable. But, even without the deep canyons of sonic bruising that he layered in, Dure Limite has a clean-kicking rock sound that kicks in with the opening title track and never lets up. Masters of the light-and-shade technique that would dominate the "alternative rock" scene of a decade later, Telephone eschew all the gimmicks that scarred so many of their contemporaries' albums, aiming instead for (and this is Ezrin territory again) a fiery brew of melodic lead guitars, purposeful harmonies, and basslines like bedsprings. The party vibe of "Ça (C'Est Vraiment Toi)," the savage riffola of "Le Temps," and, finally, the unalloyed epic fantasies of the closing "Ce Soir Est Ce Soir" all pinpoint Dure Limite among the most dynamic albums of its age, a universal storm that falters in just one department -- the band's (admittedly admirable) insistence on recording their lyrics in French. It's hard to sing along if you don't know what the words mean!

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