Octobre

Les Nouvelles Terres

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It is amazing how much Octobre grew up as a band and the members as musicians in less than a year. Pierre Flynn's writing improved, as he better integrated his influences and diversified his arrangements. The group's level of musicianship was starting to equal that of many British progressive rock groups, but Octobre's music remained anchored in art pop. Flynn's voice is still the focus of the album, but an instrumental piece, "La Passe du Grand Flambeau" (Passing the Torch), and vocal-less developments in "Les Nouvelles Terres" (The New World) and "Voyage en Mer" (Sea Trip) added an extra dimension to the music. Les Nouvelles Terres is a somber record. Life in a metropolis like Montreal triggers dreams of violence ("Violence") and escape ("Voyage en Mer"), and its numbing effect on the psyche makes something as basic as love too hard an effort ("Il Est Déjà Tard"). Flynn's answer is a war cry, a song of rebellion. In "Ma Chanson" (My Song) he "screams and damns/Your humiliation/Your resignation" over a delicate three/four rhythm. Even more poignant is this line from "Génération": "In the name of all those who want to live, I raise my fist to the skies and scream my sad song to get out of it." The young Flynn still wore his idealism on his sleeve. The funky "Les Nouvelles Terres" (someone stole a clavinet riff from Stevie Wonder), the symphonic "Violence," and the prog-rock-ish "Génération," which included a rare showcase for guitarist Jean Dorais, all became classic live tracks, while the Brazilian break in "Voyage en Mer" foretold late-'70s pieces like "Brazilia" and "Le Chant du Souterrain," or even Flynn's 1987 solo hit "Catalina." This LP has not been reissued on CD, but all tracks minus "Il Est Déjà Tard" were included in the collection 1972-1989.

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