After leaving the theatrical satire groove of Red Noise in 1971 both Francis Lemonnier (sax, vocals) and Serge Catalano (drums, percussion) went onto new pastures after a major fall out with the rest of the band supposedly to do with polics. Joining forces with them were Michel Musac (guitar), Olivier Zdrzalik(bass, vocals, organ and piano) and Pascal Chassin(guitar) who all seemed to sport identical extreme leftist views. In Komintern politics, theatre, French culture and absurdity are all scrambled up in this furious roller-coaster rideWithout question these Frenchmen were one of the very first Rio bands to burst upon the scene. Their Communist message was as important and probably more so than the music they created. in fact they had two tracks on this debut that were words only that the Producer thankfully left off the record. In a live setting it was all about the message and I should mention that this band includes violin / cello player Richard Aubert who would go onto play with Atoll. Also Gilbert Artman towards the end of this band’s career played drums for them in a live setting. He is of course the drummer and brains behind the great Lard Free. So yes this album is silly at times but always entertaining and adventerous. This really is a blast to listen to.Pacing wildly through avantguarde cabaret rock, fusion, angular folky chanson and zany off hinged vocal dominated sections, the albums starts with “Bal Pour Un Rat Vivant” the side long opening track and it is all over the place at times. An intense start then it settles with violin before kicking back in. A change 2 minutes in then it settles with violin, sax and bass standing out. The sax becomes dissonant. The tempo continues to shift often. Another change before 6 minutes and it sounds great ! Love the guitar especially 7 minutes in. Fantastic bass before 9 1/2 minutes then the horns are back. Vocal melodies before 11 minutes along with dissonant horns. It then turns lighter with violin before 12 1/2 minutes. A change before 14 1/2 minutes as strummed guitar with violin and a beat takes over. The tempo then speeds up to end it.
The next suite “Le Bal Du Rat Mort” is divided into four tracks. “Hommage Au Maire De Tours” opens with some mock “ah ah amen” chants then the music kicks in with silly vocal expressions, farts and lots of violin. “Petite Musique Pour On Blockhaus” is a top two for me as it starts off slow but sounds incredible. The horns start to blast and it’s very intense before 2 minutes. Amazing ! It settles back 3 minutes in and the violin comes to the fore after 3 1/2 minutes. Very cool. Horns eventually join in. “Pongistes De Tous Les Pays…” is a vocal track and yikes ! At least it’s short and it is all in good fun. “Fou, Roi, Pantin…” ends it and this is a top two as well. This sounds incredible. I just love the sound and the vocals too. Guitar after 2 minutes and the passion in those vocals after 3 minutes is moving me. It settles again. Lots of horns and bass in this song too. It kicks back in with vocals. Nice. It’s catchy with horns 5 minutes in to end it, violin too.