Les Flaneurs
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Les Flaneurs

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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Credit well-honed technical chops for the mighty foundation behind Villain, the new long-player from local prog-pop sextet Les Flaneurs. The cartoonish voice of singer Nate Clark yelps out individual lyrics that are then left to drift aimlessly as the band bookends each line with flurries of dizzying technical flair. While most math rock structures are little more than predictable problems with easy solutions, Les Flaneurs are deep into some musical trigonometry, assembling odd time signatures buffered by short doses of noise, instrumental panic, and the occasion sweet melody. If you think you have seen just about every trick the Portland music scene has to offer, you haven't heard Les Flaneurs yet. EAC - Portland Mercury

"Les Flaneurs, Villain"

Six months ago, Les Flaneurs sent us a small care package including a CD of demos and what my assistant Michael Mannheimer and I deemed almost immediately to be the worst press photo of all time. The shot featured a puzzling scene of the band members waiting for a pie with legs to climb the stairs to a slide at a public park. We taped the photo on the wall as a form of public shaming, and we moved on.

But in the long months since this photo went up in our office, it has haunted us deeply. We’ve considered it and reconsidered it. What does the pie lady represent? Why is she headed down a slide? Are they really going to eat a pie with legs? A quick Google search revealed that flaneurs is a romantic-sounding French term for urban wanderers—which explained the legs but not the pie. Les Flaneurs’ co-frontman Nate Clark brushed off the question via email. “To be honest I wouldn’t read too much into it,” he wrote. “Shits and giggles. But if I had to offer an explanation, you could say we’re aping the pursuit of stuff and things (aka pie ladies).”

I bring up the photo because it speaks to Les Flaneurs music: These guys are coming from a place so left field that it’s hard to know whether the band is composed of expertly informed musicology nerds or complete amateurs throwing everything into the mix to see what works. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, because Les Flanuers operates entirely on its own twisted terms on debut album Villain.

This is perhaps best evidenced by “Scary Stuff,” where, after 20 seconds of chaotic fuzz and pounding, a slow funk beat cozies between a caterpillar bass line and ambulance-wail guitar licks. Clark sings commandingly, with an awkward phrasing reminiscent of Dylan in his mad hatter phase: “It’s scary living like animals besieged/ By hairy cannibals diseased/ Well, you just got to find somewhere to be.” The music snaps to a halt and starts up again. “Obsessed? Well, that just means that you care/ Possessed? Well, my father drank himself to death/ Distressed?” An earthquake of sloppy guitar swallows Clark whole as he trails off, sighing the last lyrics before another tornado of sharp math riffs and metal sloppiness.

Whatever Les Flaneurs is trying to do (the band’s musical hallmarks may or may not include XTC, the Fall, the Dead Kennedys and myriad prog rock masters), it’s working. And it’s best left in its own little petri dish. So don’t go see this band, as that could disturb its fragile natural habitat. Just let them keep chasing that stupid, sexy pie. - The Willamette Week





Les Flaneurs was formed in the spring of 2007 around the songs of musician and artist Nathan Clark. Clark (Audie Darling, Leonard Mynx, On the Stairs) came to Portland from central Illinois the previous summer and soon began playing with drummer Chris Brown, bassist Chris Beck, keyboardist Jed Grubbs (Telescope Vehicle), and guitarist Greg Cardi. A year later they began work on their first full length album.