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MARKS

Alquin

 

Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 53 ratings

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The Runaway
4 stars There's not much I can say about Alquin, as I do not really know anything except this album. They're a dutch band formed somewhere around the early 70's, and only released 5 albums, and this one, Marks, is their first.

Oriental Journey starts with a flute and acoustic guitar prologue, very similar to Camel, or Jethro Tull during Heavy Horses. Then the band enters into a very jazzy feel of the earlier theme. Then it goes into a wah wah empowered section, very influenced by Blind Faith, and jazz artists of that time. Then they play the flute/guitar riff on horns, and then piano. The whole band is very talented, and I'm pretty sure that they learned music somewhere in their lives. This song is constantly changing, until its faded into The Least You Could do is Send me Some Flowers, which sounds just like the previous song. Then comes a saxophone solo very similar (judging by feel) to the one in Pink Floyd's Money. The song then comes to an abrupt piano ending.

Soft Royce starts with something that sounds like Air's La Femme d'Argent jazzified! a funky bassline and phased drums, played with a steady saxphone line played with insane feel and tightness. This song is very reminiscent of Focus, Jethro Tull (During APP), and Wishbone Ash, the latter one especially during the guitar solo. The song then goes into a samba part, and right afterwards come in the vocals, which sound very similar to Roye Albrighton of Nektar. Then the song goes into a slow 9/8ths keyboard solo reminiscent of Camel, especially on their debut.

Mr. Barnum Jr. starts with a pumpy Hammond organ part and a drum roll, which sound like a train rolling, and then abruptedly ends after a few seconds. Then a horn is sounded, much like on The Decemberists' The Infanta, which made me think it was gonna come again, but no, there is a flute solo, similar to that on JT's My God.

I Wish I Could starts out with a mellow guitar/hammond piece, which keeps feeling like it'll explode into something huge. After a few rounds, the bass and drums enter. Now even Pink Floyd can't get more Pink Floyd than this! Then it goes into an acoustic guitar part which sounds like a cross between Camel, the music in Battlefield 2 when you lose to the MEC, and Get My Goat by Phideaux. The whole feel of this song is very haunting, until the vocals come in. In my opinion they're pretty cheesy, and the accent isn't so good.

You Always Can Change starts out reminiscent of David Bowie, or Byzantium, maybe even Genesis. It's an upbringing song, lyrically and musically. Even reminiscent of the country music around that time, such as CSNY, and Neil Young.

Marc's Occasional Showers starts with with thunder crashes exploding into a 7/8ths insanity with phased drums playing really fast 16ths, saxophones blaring, guitar chords strummed like hell, and then it slows down into a 4/4 bit with orchestral vocals in the background, reminiscent of Capability Brown's Circumstances, somehow.

Catharine's Wig starts out with a string section which sounds like Fruupp playing Gryphon covers, until the must-have wah-guitar solo comes in. Oh wait, it's a violin! Back to the main theme, this time with drums and piano, and then, STOP, piano interlude, GO, wah-violin solo, very reminiscent of those in Gentle Giant, especially in River. One of the most beautiful songs on this album.

And that's it, actually. On my first listen I wasn't so focused, so I didn't pay attention to the beauty in some of these songs. I'll give this a 4 out of 5. Most of the songs are good, and even great, but I Wish I Could isn't good enough, and it seems a bit too influenced off Camel and Jethro Tull.

Still a fantastic album though, and if you have the money for lesser-known gems, buy this.

The Runaway | 4/5 |

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