Album Reviews

Les Incompetents – End Of An Error 2004-2006

(White Heat) UK release date: 12 March 2007

Les Incompetents - End Of An Error 2004-2006 Reviewing bands posthumously seems a little pointless at times, particularly when the band in question hardly changed the face of music as we know it. Who knows though, in a few years we might look back and class Les Incompetents as being one of the most important bands of the decade. It’s fairly improbable though.

Two years of Les Incompetents (that’s Les as in Dawson incidentally) yielded a few singles, and some interesting gigs, but failed to create much of a ripple. Indeed it’s only since their split that they’ve started to make headlines. Vocalist Frederick Bang is currently hanging off the arm of Peaches Geldof, whilst vocalist number two, Billy Leeson, recently ended up in a coma after an altercation with a former Green Party candidate.

It’s a shame that they never made a huge impression, because a cursory trip through End Of An Error shows a band that was far from incompetent. Their songs were a fusion of punk, folk, and pop that glinted with a knowing schizoid wit.

Escapades swings randomly through time changes and a chanted dual vocal that is triggers off the pleasure zones in the inner ear within seconds. It’s the exact kind of song that Larrikin Love churn out with seeming ease and are roundly applauded for.

Costa Rica is a rampant charge led by the dual vocals of Bang and Leeson which changes shape so often it’s almost hard to get a grasp on exactly what’s going on. It must be said it’s perhaps the dual vocals that set the band apart from other ‘Thamesbeat’ bands. At times the idea makes perfect sense, and at others their approach is so infuriating that you want to become a Green Party candidate.

Humour and music often make uncomfortable bedfellows (remember The Sultans of Ping?) and the sound of someone who sounds like Brian Blessed really overacting bellowing over the course of 10 songs can get a little wearing. That’s bad enough, but the exorable Stupid Rap that closes the album is almost enough to persuade even the most level headed person that purchasing a sniper rifle and hunting the band down before they reform might not be such a bad idea.

Perhaps the most telling thing about this album is the interview from XFM that has been included at the end of the collection. It constantly references the band’s live performance and highlights the fact that they were a great live band. Looking back across the songs included here, it would not be unfair to suggest that whilst we may not have lost a great singles band, we have lost a band that were undoubtedly capable of putting on hugely enjoyable live shows.

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Les Incompetents – End Of An Error 2004-2006