Les Poules (The Chicks) are Joane Hétu (alto sax, synth, voice), Diane Labrosse (synth, voice) and Danielle Roger (drums, drum machine, synth and voice), and together they have one of the strongest grasps of how to manipulate sound that I’ve heard in a long time. There are some vague traces of early Henry Cow, even earlier Gong, and Matching Mole, but past that the album moves quickly off to define itself on its own terms. “Human Pinball" sets up a skittery and sometimes silly sonic edge, while Solliloque pour Simone uses a slow, open drum pulse to pin together watery washes of synths and a lonely, poetic sax line, all to great effect. Faust et son pain is a muscular and tense,bit of music quite apart from the two pieces I first described. In fact, if there’s a weakness to this album, it might be that it’s a little disjointed. All the cuts stand up just fine on their own, but strung together as an album, the overall effect is an unpredictable mood, shifting emotions and some bits that shine more than others. But these women have really got a handle on their sound structures, and l’d like to hear them focus their musical efforts around a central theme with more Iyrics. An engaging album, and heavy potential.