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Alquin - The Mountain Queen CD (album) cover

THE MOUNTAIN QUEEN

Alquin

 

Eclectic Prog

3.75 | 88 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Mountain Queen is Alquin's second and best album (at least until the group reformed in the 2000s). Marks, their first, was marked, if you will, by the same kinds of novice indulgences that have beset many a debut album. And their other two 1970s albums, Nobody Can Wait Forever (1975) and Best Kept Secret (1976), went in a more radio-friendly direction, which didn't really suit Alquin, in my opinion. On The Mountain Queen, Alquin finds their sound, which is suggestive of Camel and Caravan, but nonetheless not derivative.

The Mountain Queen retains the confidence of Marks but with substantially improved material. Side Two in particular employs themes and styles familiar from Marks, but more creatively and with more consistency. But as good as the flip side is, the real gem is the obverse.

Side One is divided into three tracks on the digital-download release I have, but the first track could be interpreted as a three-part medley. On the other hand, the entire side ("The Dance"→"Soft-Eyed Woman"→"Convicts of the Air") works pretty well as a continuous piece, la "Supper's Ready" or "Fly From Here." In a recapitulation reminiscent of "Close to the Edge," the vocal theme introduced in "The Dance" ("where will you be tonight / where will you be tomorrow?") is presented in altered form in "Convicts of the Air." Now, Side One of The Mountain Queen is not at the same level as these classics, but it's very good.

The same can be said for The Mountain Queen as a whole. Four stars for Alquin's best: an excellent mix of 1970s rock, jazzy Canterbury, and symphonic prog.

patrickq | 4/5 |

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