More and more labels start doing a ‘classic’ or ‘vintage’ series reissuing golden oldies, compiling all of a band’s work or stuff it up with unreleased recordings and demo material. Great for A.) everyone who can’t afford the originals B.) those who have the originals but rather keep those safe and sound in their collection instead of playing them and C.) both contender A. and B. if it contains recordings and demo’s that never have been published before, something that seems to be the case with the first two releases of the new Une Vie Pour Rien? series “UVPR Archives”!
UVPR kicks off their “Archives” series with two releases from the classic French Oi!/punk band L’Infanterie Sauvage entitled “Studio Et Demos Volume 1 (1984 – 83)” and “Demos Volume 2 (1983 – 82)”, containing tons of unreleased recordings, lost demo’s and live material that wasn’t officially available anywhere… until now!
Volume 1 covers the years 1983 and 1984 and contains material recorded before, after and perhaps during the making of the band’s only release in the time that they were actually together, the “Chansons A Boire” EP for the Fomb label who were also responsible for the first two R.A.S. releases and the debut 7” of Paris punks Les Cafards. These were definitely the ‘Oi! years’ of the band and despite the sound, that varies from decent to very rough, these demo’s they are absolutely listenable and above all, enjoyable if you want a piece of France’s skinhead history!Our take: I have to admit that I'm somewhat out of my depth when talking about French oi!. I have a general sense of what defines French oi! as a sound (primitive songwriting and playing, an aggressive rhythm section, chanted vocals, etc.), but I really haven't spent much time actually listening to it and have only a cursory knowledge of the scene's key bands. That said, L'Infanteri Sauvage is always a band I've been curious about based on stuff I've heard in passing, and I'm stoked to finally get to hear an entire LP's worth of material. Unfortunately the two semester of French that I took at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1997 weren't enough to prepare me to make heads or tails of the insert so I can't tell you anything about where these tracks come from, but they are high-quality studio recordings that are absolutely killer... it's been pretty fashionable to reference French oi! over the past few years, and when I hear these songs I realize that modern bands like Rixe and Contingent have drawn significantly from L'Infanterie Sauvage's bag of tricks. In particular, the backing vocals on tracks like "Les Poings Leves" are just totally bruising, elevating the best tracks to the point where they're right up there with prime-era Blitz as some of the best oi! I've ever heard. Certainly the artwork on this reissue could be a little bit cooler and my Americentric self would love an English translation of the liner notes, but it's hard to quibble with music this good that I've never heard before.