Les Georges Leningrad
Sat May 29
10 SW 3rd
Like human blood or chilled monkey brain, Les Georges Leningrad is a rather extreme acquired taste. If not ingested in a profoundly distracting setting, its outlandishly abrasive avant-garde flavor, a churning blend of sweet synths and scorchingly sour singing, might deter listeners from any additional samples. But the Montreal-based quartet's live show filters out all but the most appealing elements of its songs. The melodies, buried on record beneath layers of faux-rudimentary riffage and irritating-as-an-eyepoke vocals, leave an imprint, while campy costumes overshadow the dying-duck horn solos and other foul emissions.
If a portrait of a grossly disfigured person hangs upside down, the brain views the facial features as normal; it's so disoriented by the inversion that it fails to perceive additional flaws. Similarly, when musicians don grotesque green face paint, freakishly mutated horse-head masks and garish gaping-wound make-up while dancing on banana peels, they can craft contemptuous and confrontational cacophonies without alienating the overwhelmed audience. Also, Les Georges Leningrad claims an apparition as a fifth member, and it's possible that this friendly ghost combs the crowd, spreading salve into savaged ears. That might sound far-fetched, but the idea that any non-deaf individual could sit still during some of the group's shrill shriek-fests defies explanations.
Even without seeing the band live, listeners could eventually overcome their natural aversion to its tunes, as the group's tangled instrumental patterns eventually unweave and its vocals can numb ear canals with extended exposure. However, without the prerequisite performance, it's unlikely anyone would be patient or pain-resistant enough to reach that point. It's easy to imagine someone loving Les Georges Leningrad's gigs without appreciating its music; it's much more difficult to fathom someone embracing the albums without first swallowing the spectacle.