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Alquin - Marks CD (album) cover

MARKS

Alquin

 

Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 85 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Certainly an eclectic album, Marks stars off sounding like Camel playing Canterbury, but three minutes in, they sound like a Dixieland brass section.

But at least at the outset, the eclecticism is kept within bounds; the first three numbers, "Oriental Journey," "The Least You Could Do is Send Me Some Flowers," and "Soft Royce," jazzily cycle through a fixed set of styles. And at first, it seems "Mr. Barnum Jr.'s Magnificent & Fabulous City" will be more of the same, but it morphs from a spirited chamber piece to a fiddlin' hoedown which goes a bit avant-garde toward the end. The bounded eclecticism of the first three songs doesn't return until the album-closer, "Catharine's Wig."

The Camel-infused Pink Floyd tribute "I Wish I Could," which opens Side Two, is my favorite song here; interestingly, "Marc's Occasional Showers," which comes later, might've made a nice coda to this one. And then there's "You Always Can Change." I wonder if Alquin was influenced by groups like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, insofar as this short number, suitable for release as a single, sounds a little out of place on the album. But it's a nice song.

Released in 1972, Marks must have been an unconventional debut. It suffers from an unlikely combination of unrealized ambition and unnecessary repetition. But it's performed quite well, and the sound is good. At any rate, Alquin would surpass Marks the following year with The Mountain Queen, which would be my recommended starting point for those interested in this band.

patrickq | 3/5 |

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