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Mona Lisa

Symphonic Prog

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Mona Lisa Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard album cover
4.28 | 89 ratings | 7 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Avant Qu´Il Ne Soit Trop Tard (3:30)
2. La Peste (6:00)
3. Souvenirs De Naufrageuer (7:00)
4. Tripot (4:00)
5. Lena (5:00)
6. Créature Sur La Steppe (9:45) :
- a) Comme Dans Un Rêve
- b) L´Oppression
- c) Avec Le Vent

Total Time: 32:15

Bonus tracks on 1994 & 2009 releases:
7. Souvenirs De Naufrageurs (Live) (8:00)
8. Creáture Sur La Steppe (Live) (6:35)
9. Léna (Live) (6:12)

Line-up / Musicians

- Dominique Le Guennec / lead vocals, flute, percussion
- Pascal Jardon / electric & acoustic guitars, synthesizer
- Jean-Paul Pierson / piano, organ, synthesizer, Mellotron, "Polyphonic Orchestra" (?)
- Jean-Luc Martin / bass
- Francis Poulet / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Michel Lecoeur

LP Crypto ‎- ZAL 6440 (1977, France)
LP Wotre Music ‎- ZAL 6440 (1986, France) Remastered

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4107.AR (1994, France) With 3 bonus Live tracks and new cover art
CD Belle Antique ‎- BELLE 091643 (2009, Japan) Remaster by Shuichi Takano w/ 3 bonus Live tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MONA LISA Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard Music

MONA LISA Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard ratings distribution

(89 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MONA LISA Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my favourite Mona Lisa album (and I know most of them): I have no problem in giving the highest rate to 'Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard', since I consider it a definite highlight of Frech progressive tradition. Mona Lisa continues to explore its own theatrical over-dramatic symph prog, based on the colourful use of keyboards, the amazing solos on guitar (Jordan feels at home, though he'd just entered the band one year ago) and synth (Pierson at his most confident), the foundation of a solid, undefatigable rhythm section, and the amazingly expressionist vocal style proudly exhibited by Le Guennec. The title track opens the album in the shape of a somber manifesto which gradually grows into delirious exaltation, on the basis of minimalistic layers of synths, to which guitar riffs, tympani, bells are added until a final blow on a gong. This impressive entry gives way to the hard-rocking 'La Peste', which includes another manifesto in the interlude - this time on a stacatto tempo, and with a clear air of ugent protest. The energetic interaction bwteen the lead guitar and the synth main lines makes a major asset in Mona Lisa's instrumental input - this track is one of the most notable epitomes of this. 'Souvenirs de Naufrageurs' is the first symphonic suite of the album, where the intensity is more balanced along the various passages (acoutic/serene, electric/agressive). 'Tripot' is ML at its cacthiest, building attractive melodic lines on a 7/8 tempo, while 'Lena' comes later as an effective exercise on folkish driven sounds - the rhythm section, to which the acoustic guitar is added, paves the way for the flute and synth lines in the interlude and the synth solo in the last section. The sense of bucolic easy-going fun is wickedly disrupted by the final, brief laugh. The three-part closing suite is the greatest musical gem ever created by the band: retaking some of the agressiveness of most of the previous tracks, the first two parts display a fluid transit from the contemplative stage to the energy of anger (not unlike 'La Peste'). The final four minutes are worth mentioning here - using a basis minimal series of chords on synth, a bunch of other instruments (other synths, guitar, bass, bass pedals, vibes, glockenspiel, bells, mellotron) wander in and out in order to create a surreal, zombiesque ambience... makes me feel like I'm trapped in the middle of a cathartic circus of marionettes. Such a great closing for such a great prog masterpiece!
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This is the last of the classic "Mona Lisa" album. And as usual, the music featured is quite good and belongs to the best of the French prog genre. One needs indeed to be open minded while listening to this album and it is obvious that the formidable influence from "Ange" sits at every corner of this very good album.

The excellent and dark opening track sets the pace: it is somber, scary (both music as well as lyrics) and develops the feel that is available throughout this work. This album belongs to the best of the theatric French style. Each song is meant to be a piece of art. As I have mentioned during prior reviews, the lyrics are not as saucy as some of "Ange" ones, but they are quite well performed and they can be categorized as a good representation of the so special French style.

It is true to say that if you don't master the French language, you would probably miss a whole lot of the ingredients featured on this album. Once you have surpassed this difficulty, songs as "La Peste" or "Souvenirs de Naufrageurs" are such a pleasure to listen to that one needs to accept this French substance.

It is true that vocals are somewhat invading the music ("Lena") but this is the genuine "Mona Lisa" style. The best combination between lyrics and music is achieved during the epic "Créature Sur La Steppe" even if the closing part lacks of bombastic feel.

Three live bonus tracks from this studio album are featured on the CD release and are quite enjoyable as well. I guess that it all adds to my feel of not having had a live experience from this band.

Four stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This album and MONA LISA's previous one are both classics as far as i'm concerned.The title of this album means "Before It's Too Late". Apparently the concerts in support of both of these albums were very elaborate and theatrical much like GENESIS were in the early days.

"Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard" opens with the synths rolling in as some heaviness joins in rather quickly. Spoken words replace the heaviness then a beat arrives before 2 1/2 minutes as the spoken words get more theatrical. It's building here. "La Peste" is uptempo with synths, bass and drums but it settles back some quickly.Vocals before a minute. Check out the fast paced vocals and sound 2 minutes in that really remind me of MAGMA. Great sound ! They stop after 3 1/2 minutes as it slows back down then the vocals return. "Souvenirs De Naufrageurs" opens with atmosphere as spoken words join in.The flute replaces the words as the atmosphere continues. Piano after 2 minutes as the mood brightens some.Vocals join in as the tempo picks up. Guitar comes to the fore after 5 1/2 minutes.We even get some mellotron late on this one.

"Tripot" is uptempo with vocals.Guitar a minute in when the vocals stop but the vocals return quickly. "Lena" opens with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals join in. It does build some then it picks up after 2 minutes.The flute joins in when the vocals stop.Vocals are back 3 1/2 minutes in. It turns instrumental again.Some crazy laughter ends it. "Creature Sur La Steppe" is mellow to start in fact spacey might be the word. Reserved vocals with bass, gentle guitar and a beat take over. I like the melancholic synths that follow. It turns heavier after 3 minutes and the guitar joins in briefly.The vocals return as well. Spacey synths come in as it settles from before 6 minutes to the end.

Just a great album for Prog fans who don't mind a little theatrics here and there.

Review by Progfan97402
5 stars A long time ago I was warned the vocals of Mona Lisa were irritating. Admittedly Dominique Le Guennec isn't to everyone's taste. For me, although they released only six studio albums (including one in 1998 with Dominique Le Guennec using the Mona Lisa name with a totally different band), their reputation lies in two albums, Le Petite Violon de Mre. Grégoire, and this 1978 follow-up Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard. To me this is truly the band at the top of their game with some of the finest prog from 1978, not exactly a great year for prog, but in Continental Europe that wasn't always the case. Comparisons to Ange are common, as there is that similar theatrical approach, although Jean-Paul Pierson tends to use more standard keyboards, mainly the Mini Moog and Poly Moog (sounds like it should be one), and a tiny bit of Mellotron, rather than Francis DeChamps using the treated Viscount organ in Ange. The music is truly wonderful symphonic prog, but be warned, as mentioned before, Dominque Le Guennec's vocals are an acquired taste, but it's clear by this point he has better control with his voice than he did on L'Escapade and Grimaces. Not knowing the French language, it seems to be a concept album, but not knowing the language, I'm not sure. The album seems to be arranged to be listened to in one sitting, which works in my favor because of the wonderful music within. This is one where I have a difficult time finding a highlight because the music is that good throughout! There is one polyphonic synth passage on "It's Souvenirs De Naufrageuer" that, for some odd reason, reminds me of Sylvester Levay's theme song to the 1980s TV series Airwolf, although without the 1980s trappings. I'm certain that was just coincidence, although Levay did have a prog past being in the obscure multi-national band Vita Nova that released a super rare self-entitled album in 1971. For me, Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard is one of the highlights of French prog and very much deserving to be in your collection.

Latest members reviews

5 stars French theatrical symphonic progrock at its best! This is the best album of this French group and my most favourite from them (i have Le Petit Violon... too). Simply said, i really like this album. It has so much great melodies and catchy vocals, that some are really staying in my head a long ... (read more)

Report this review (#837897) | Posted by Obersturmbannprogger | Sunday, October 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of the albums that proves my point that the prog rock scene from France is not like any other prog rock scene. Bands like Ange, Atoll and Mona Lisa took Peter Gabriel's theatrics a couple of stages further down the theatrical and operatic path. It is on this Theatrical Symphonic P ... (read more)

Report this review (#286189) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Their best for me.Several songs are by the better kind as 'Avant qu'il ne soit pas trop tard' which started softly in a very clear spoken french voice and ends in a complete climax.'Tripot','Lena' are very nice too.For people which just start to discover Mona Lisa you've to buy this one as a starter ... (read more)

Report this review (#4890) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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