Pierre Eliane

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"Arrivederci" opens this creative and highly listenable album by Pierre Eliane of France. Available only in Europe, it was released in 1984. Eliane sings entirely in French, and although they say rock & roll is an art form most effective in English, this techno/dance album works musically and vocally. Eliane's best material is the tunes he pens about people, from "Isadora Duncan (A Quoi Tu Penses Quand Tu Danses)" to the closing title, "Song to Len." In between is the album's finest track, and the one of two titles, along with "Song to Len," to have any English -- "Willie Take Care," dedicated to "Loco" Alexander, the Bostonian who toured Europe as a member of the Velvet Underground and recorded for Capitol with the Lost, ABC/Dunhill with Bagatelle, MCA as leader of the Boom Boom Band, and RCA Europe as a solo artist. As intriguing as "Etoile Hlm," "Paroles de Nuit," and "Ou Que Tu Alles" are on Eliane's disc, it is his tribute to Alexander which has a manic intensity, slashing guitars, deranged vocals, and true rock & roll passion. It opens with a slow techno stomp and simply and quickly falls into the tense chorus. Eliane's voice creates a hook with his "aaahhh" -- almost an answer to Alexander's "uh yuh uh yuh," which was a battle cry in the dungeons of Boston rock music. The production by Manfred Kovacic is really extraordinary. One part Martin Rushent another part Ron Nevison, as Pierre Eliane himself starts going loco at the end of "Willie Take Care" just as Alexander does on his tribute to Ronnie Spector, the immortal "Pup Tune" from Live at the Rat, the backing vocalists and keyboard horns slide in to augment Pierre's Yoko Ono-type rant from her "Walking on Thin Ice" single. A truly over the top performance makes this a very desirable find for collectors of great underground rock. "Song to Len" brings things down a bit and full circle. With a guitar strum straight out of Lou Reed's Coney Island Baby and a little nick of the "Music to Watch Girls By" riff, Kovacic takes the production to new levels as the bass twists in and out, percussion fragments build alongside the guitar which is off in the background, and the artist mixes French and English to great effect -- "do you remember me Len, as I remember you." The two final tracks add dimensions to this collection of tunes dramatically different from the avant-garde techno/dance tone set by "Femmes de Papier," the "femme fatale" song, full of whispers and an exotic female voice. This is an original creation worth seeking out, which stands up to repeated listenings and cries to be internationally distributed on CD.

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