Not a Moment Too Soon

Not a Moment Too Soon2021-09-07T16:30:59+00:00

Project Description

Similar Artists: Fountains of Wayne, Jeffrey Lewis, The Olivia Tremor Control

Not a Moment Too Soon is the one-man-band-alter-ego of tenured political science professor and Africanist Pierre Englebert. The project began in 2019 as a tongue-in-cheek reflection of the late age (he just turned 59) at which he started the musical project.  

Influences range from 1970s rock to classical to French pop, with power-pop punch and rock-like rhythms taking precedence. Not a Moment Too Soon tells stories with a non-judgmental lighthearted touch on heavy social commentary (race relations, guns, economic vulnerability, sex work). The songs, often funny stories, also convey emotions like love, sorrow, and loss. Direct references to old-style Queen can often be found. Examples include the musical mannerism of “A Manly Man I Am” or “Scarlett, We Need to Talk” and the baroque Sparks style in the concise (16 seconds) “Long Story Short.” The influence of bands like Squeeze can be heard in rock-ballad songs like “Self-Pity Party.” For the punchier rock pieces, there are influences of Cheap Trick, Sweet, and XTC.

RELEASES

“When the Feces Hit the Fan” (Single)
Release Date: September 22, 2021

Press quote about single

 A banger of a rock piece, it follows a character who has a lot of skeletons in his closet. It was inspired by a line in the Tiger King series where the protagonist says “Everybody’s got a past.” Read more

Bio

Not a Moment Too Soon is the one-man-band-alter-ego of tenured political science professor and Africanist Pierre Englebert. The project began in 2019 as a tongue-in-cheek reflection of the late age (he just turned 59) at which he started the musical project. 

Influences range from 1970s rock to classical to French pop, with power-pop punch and rock-like rhythms taking precedence. Not a Moment Too Soon tells stories with a non-judgmental lighthearted touch on heavy social commentary (race relations, guns, economic vulnerability, sex work). The songs, often funny stories, also convey emotions like love, sorrow, and loss. Direct references to old-style Queen can often be found. Examples include the musical mannerism of “A Manly Man I Am” or “Scarlett, We Need to Talk” and the baroque Sparks style in the concise (16 seconds) “Long Story Short.” The influence of bands like Squeeze can be heard in rock-ballad songs like “Self-Pity Party.” For the punchier rock pieces, there are influences of Cheap Trick, Sweet, and XTC.

Not a Moment Too Soon finds inspiration in things he observes, things people say, things he reads, and the news.  He says, “A student of mine told me she had had ‘a sitch’ with a boy but was ‘caj’ about it, and it gave me the idea to write a song with that kind of lingo.” He’s also written a song about being on Zoom all the time. Themes also include the time that passes, people who are self-delusional or obnoxious, and human frailties. Englebert says, “I cannot deny that the song ‘Surrounded by Idiots,’ written in 2019, was influenced by the US administration at the time, as well as by the widespread bigotry and arrogance that it unleashed across the country. But I am thrilled at increased socio-cultural and racial diversity.”

The man behind Not a Moment Too Soon combines his music project with a productive academic career in political science (African politics, development studies, and quantitative methods). He is a full-time tenured professor with an endowed chair who has published five books and a few dozen articles on African politics. He just published a book on Congolese politics between his last album, Well, and the upcoming album release, Wait, What?.

Originally from Belgium, where he lived until he was 25, Englebert came to the US in 1987, where he lived in DC for five years before moving to Los Angeles. It’s in LA where he received his Ph.D. in Political Economy from the University of Southern California (he fondly remembers hearing from the library the marching band practice Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk). Currently living in Claremont, he returned to music after taking guitar lessons at the Claremont Folk Music Center, the home of Ben Harper. He studied with Mike Krevis, who exposed Englebert to different styles and triggered a new desire to compose. Englebert started composing and recording in 2018 after a hiatus of more than 20 years (primarily spent raising five children with his wife). His former band released a single in 1981 and had one track on a compilation album of Belgian rock a year later. Englebert also studied music theory under Tom Flaherty, a well-known composer in classical circles, and Eric Lindholm, the conductor of the Pomona orchestra. 

The meaning behind the album title, Wait, What? is threefold. It’s funny. As you listen, you might hear things that surprise you in the lyrics or music and say, “wait, what?” and return to it. And the possible reaction to finding out he is a professor of African politics and specialist of Congolese politics in his late fifties who is releasing his third album of rock music. Wait, What? is due out November 12.

"How to Become a One-Man Band: To understand how Professor of Politics Pierre Englebert became a veritable one-man rock band, step briefly into his musical shoes.”

Mark Wood, Pomona College Magazine

“elegantly arranged pop music full of sophisticated chord changes and voicings... sinewy vocal melodies, complex arrangements and interestingly layered production choices."

Mick Woods, The Claremont Courier

TOUR DATES