Jean LeClerc

L' Amour Est Sans Pitié

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L'Amour Est Sans Pitié ("love is merciless") captures Jean Leloup at his peak. Later he would experiment with various forms of pop music (from electronica to stoner rock), but this down-to-earth rock album sees him completely focused, exciting, and constantly good, plus he's backed by a solid band. Actually, it could be qualified as a group effort, since guitarists Patrick Pelenc, Alex Cochard, and Michel Dagenais played a key role in the writing and production of this album. They are probably responsible for keeping Leloup from scattering his energies in too many directions. At the heart of this album, Leloup's second, is a devastating heartbreak that turned a European sabbatical into a nightmare. Back home Leloup put together the band La Sale Affaire to perform some of the best dirty rock Quebec has known. Inspired by the Violent Femmes, Leloup's songs exorcise the pain while defying the still prude province of Quebec with stories of drugs, sex, and rock & roll. The album was a huge hit, both mainstream and underground, and remains a classic. "Cookie" turned endlessly on the radio, but the real treats are the fast-paced Femmes-esque "Isabelle" and "Barcelone" (both semi-autobiographical). As for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," the story of a city turning lecherous after a love potion fell into the water supply, it simply ranks as the two or three best songs the man ever wrote. Compared to the experiments with Bran Van 3000 on Le Dôme and the endless jams on Les Fourmis, this album shows that Leloup once was a first-rate songwriter.

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