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Alquin - The Mountain Queen CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 107 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Behind one of the uglier artwork around (especially the back cover showing a brute beating a tramp with on-lookers probably betting on the issue), Alquin's second album is the logical continuation of their debut album. And if the outer gatefold wasn't ugly enough, the inner one is completely missed as well, but at least printing the certainly-not-unforgettable lyrics accompanying the no-doubt ambitious music they'd set out to do. Indeed the album gives two major multi-movement suites, but they're overstretching their talents a tad too much and had to look for inspiration to Caravan (amongst others), or

Let's first look at the shorter tracks, Soft-eyed Woman (repetitive riff ala Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, but remaining thankfully short) and Convicts Of The Air (with its slightly Floyd-ish sound) are both quite pleasant but fail to enthuse beyond the initial surprise of the discovert. On the flipside, one gets less than one minute of Lazy... eeeehrrrr.. IBD's Don & Dewey, which is actually setting the record straight, but it's kind of useless and the Mr Barnum's track, which is fairly successful in painting the circus's idea of city with its excellent Caravan-ey feel (For Girls-era) instrumental.

As for the epics, the 15-mins '-movement title track has a certain Caravan feel (Cunning Stunt-era) and not just because of the presence of the violin (Richardson in Caravan) or the sax (Bother Jimmy in Caravan), but the track regularly changes tempos, and its middle section has a lengthy space for instrumental interplay, just before the Orange And Green final movement gives us plenty of shivers down our spines but a predictable end sort of ruin it. The 13-mins two-parts The Dance is generally faster tempoed than its alter-ego track and is looser in construction (in a Floyd-ish way) and sonically (also Floyd). Plenty of cool moments

Although clearly derivative of the Richardson-era Caravan but with an original touch as well, TMQ is still a good album to acquire if you're into soft symphonic rock with some jazzy overtones. The Mountain Queen is still only available on Cd format through the 2 on 1 series, coupled with the debut, which is definitely the best Alquin combination, the other coupling their third and fourth vastly inferior albums, which are best avoided. But this one isn't, and outside its poor artwork (BTW, they actually had the track list wrong on the flipside on the back cover and n ot on the discs central label.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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