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PLASTIC BERTRAND (Buy CDs by this artist)
Ça Plane pour Moi (Sire) 1978
Plastic Bertrand AN1 (UK Sire) 1978
J'te Fais un Plan (Bel. RKM) 1979
L'Album (Can. Attic) 1980
Grands Succés/Greatest Hits (Can. Attic) 1981
Plastiquez Vos Baffles (Can. Attic) 1982

One of the first punk gag records and still one of the greatest, "Ça Plane pour Moi" was a major European hit in late '77 and early '78, launching the career of blond Belgian pretty boy Roger Jouret, aka Plastic Bertrand. Scuttlebutt at the time claimed Bertrand was the invention of some anonymous French studio pranksters; in fact, Jouret had already played drums in an earlier Belgian punk trio called Hubble Bubble (whose one LP was notable for a trashy cover of the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else"). Together with producer/songwriter Lou Deprijck, he created the persona of Plastic Bertrand, a jolly satire on the safety-pin image and jackhammer crunch of punk.

"Ça Plane pour Moi" ("This Life's for Me") is truly great dumbness — Bertrand singing verbose, seemingly nonsensical French lyrics over a classic three-chord Ramones roar with Spectorish saxes and a winning falsetto "oooh-weee-oooh" on the chorus. Ça Plane pour Moi (the US title of Plastic Bertrand AN1, released first in Belgium, then in England) also contains more of the hilarious same — a spirited remake of the Small Faces' "Sha La La La Lee" and "Wha! Wha!," wherein Bertrand does barnyard animal imitations.

J'te Fais un Plan has two limp reggae entries actually recorded in Jamaica (the title song and "Hit 78") and a sugary-sweet ballad ("Affection") dedicated to Jonathan Richman. More interesting is the ten-minute electro-disco "Tout Petit la PlanŠte," a blatant Kraftwerk cop tarted up with a nagging hook and a rich synthesizer sound — predating by two years the synth-pop confections of the Human League and OMD.

L'Album is for the true P-Bert devotee, its more tightly formulaic new wave pop distinguished only by a catchy vanilla-funk rap track, "Stop ou Encore," which bears a passing similarity to Blondie's "Rapture." Greatest Hits collects his big European successes, adding a pair of live tracks.

[David Fricke]