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Morse Code: La Marche Des Hommes

The history of Québec's Morse Code can be explained in three sections. The nucleus of what the band would become began in 1968 when bassist Michel Vallée and drummer Raymond Roy joined forces with keyboardist / vocalist Christian Simard in an outfit they called Les Maîtres. They toured endlessly throughout the province for the next couple of years and released a few singles in the process. Soon RCA took notice and an English name was needed in order to promote the group in the US so they changed their name to Morse Code Transmission or MCT for short. The band went through a few guitar players and recorded two English albums which basically didn't do much and shortly thereafter their relationship with RCA terminated. The band continued to seek out work as they slowly began to write new material and forge a new musical direction, one which was inspired by the progressive sounds coming out of the UK in the mid 70's. Now with guitarist Daniel Lemay in tow and armed with a new record contract courtesy of EMI/ Capitol, the group now known simply as Morse Code was ready go. This new lineup would go on to record three albums before calling it quits and it's these releases, La Marche Des Hommes, Procréation and Je Suis Le Temps that the folks at ProgQuébec have lovingly reissued for music fans to discover or possibly rediscover.

La Marche Des Hommes was originally launched in late 1975 in of all places a disco club in Montréal which was rather ironic because the band wanted to play hard rock and more progressive music at the time. In fact over the course of their three albums with Capitol the group had to deliberately write a few 'commercial' songs onto each album at the insistence of the record company, so their musical vision was tainted at times. Whether or not the band was in agreement with this arrangement or not we'll never know but as a result some of the music seems out of place. In this case the funky instrumental "Cocktail" with it's disco beat and cheesy flute work overtop the lush orchestral background is just too syrupy. If that wasn't bad enough, it's reprised at the end of the disc in an official 'disco mix'. Other than that brief misstep La Marche Des Hommes was a more than decent debut for the band. The highlights here being the sweeping title track which kicks off the disc, as well as "La Cérémonie De Minuit" which features some really great melodic soloing from Lemay, complete with richly layered vocals and Simard's vibrant keyboard work. "Une Goutte De Pluie" is a delicate and endearing ballad highlighting Simard's emotive vocal delivery and light piano work. "Qu'Est-Ce Que T'As Compris?" is an all out rock number showcasing each members strengths and the 2 minute "Problème"closes out the album proper. The aforementioned disco version of "Cocktail" and a single edit of "Qu'Est-Ce Que T'As Compris?" serve as bonus tracks but they're really nothing more than filler.

La Marche Des Hommes was an impressive opening statement for Morse Code, and one which provided the foundation for their 2nd album Procréation which would take them in a decidedly more progressive direction.

Track Listing
1) La Marche Des Hommes
2) Le Pays D'Or
3) La Cérémonie De Minuit
4) Cocktail
5) Une Goutte De Pluie
6) Qu'Est-Ce Que T'As Compris?
7) Problème
8) Cocktail (Disco Mix)
9) Qu'Est-Ce Que T'As Compris? (Single Version)

Added: August 22nd 2007
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: ProgQuébec
Hits: 1996
Language: english

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