January 14, 2018

André Duchesne ‎– Locomotive (1993, CD, Canada)

Locomotive is the pinnacle of André Duchesne's discography. Released after a three-year hiatus (his last CD, Le Royaume ou l'Asile, came out in 1990), it contains his liveliest music. For this project, he came back to something very close to the instrumentation of Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso-Bar: three guitars (Duchesne, Apocalypso member Claude Fradette, and Abbittibbi guitarist Francis Grandmont) plus drums. This time his writing is tighter than ever. His contrapuntal guitar lines are intertwined over avant-prog rhythmic patterns delivered by Miriodor drummer Rémi Leclerc. The album revolves around trains, as much in the lyrics and the titles than in the moods themselves, complete with train sounds. The music races at the speed of a locomotive, one track after another of rock songs influenced as much by the Ventures than by Robert Fripp, anthems of surgical precision. Six of the 13 tracks have vocals, Duchesne's declamations giving even more stamina to the pieces. Highlights include the mid-tempo opener, "Avril-Mai," the frenetic "Tension au Moyen-Orient," the very emotional ballads "Elle (Slow)" and "Bella Machina," and the hair-rising "Le Train de l'Est/La Dispute," which includes a guest appearance by vocalist Jerry Snell (you won't believe how much one scream can contribute to a song). Very strongly recommended to any fan of avant-rock, Locomotive may be the best rock album from Quebec ever.