“Romantic Times” is the 1985 follow-up to “L’Amour” – and it’s released as Lewis Baloue. The name may be slightly different, but this is absolutely our man: a familiar blond posing on the sleeve, a familiar, tortured voice pouring his heart out over languid synths and synthetic waltz beats.
Remastered from a sealed, vinyl copy of the ultra-rare album, the album was discovered in the vaults of DJ and collector Kevin “Sipreano” Howes in Vancouver, BC. It’s so rare that what is, at present, the only other known copy – found in the same Calgary store where Aaron Levin discovered a batch of sealed copies of “L’Amour” – is presently soaring into quadruple digits on eBay.
Even engineer Dan Lowe, credited for working on the album at Calgary’s Thunder Road Studios, remembered little about the session other than that Lewis seemed to be “under the influence”. Yet the music is utterly captivating.
The album further fleshes out the Lewis myth – we see him pictured in that white suit with his famous white Mercedes and a private jet too; we hear him focussing more intently on matters of the heart, and appearing to unravel in the process. “I felt like I was witnessing a full-blown exorcism of a phantom clad in the finest linen,” writes filmmaker and historian Jack D. Fleischer in his brand new liner notes. “This record went further [than L’Amour ]. It was a personal plea, of sorts. Something had gone wrong. Nerves were clearly exposed.”
It paints Lewis, then, as being more like a David Lynch character than even his debut did, exposing the darkness beneath the sheen. The album is presently being readied for release to the throng of new fans Lewis has found, willingly or not. The man himself remains a total enigma.