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Marks, Jennifer: Jennifer Marks

There's little that is progressive about Jennifer Marks's new self-titled album, at least, not in the "progressive rock" context of that word, so it was a surprise that Sea Of Tranquility was asked to review it. You see, as prog-rock or metal aficionados, we're accused of turning up our noses at "pop" music. Well don't expect any soaring lead guitar solos, rich textures of synth, hammond and mellotron, or huge changes in key, tempo, or time signature. Those elements are largely absent from this music. But as long as you know that going in, you may be pleasantly entertained by surprisingly satisfying listen.

Jennifer Marks's version of gentle rock takes its lead from forebears such as Liz Phair, Michelle Branch , Aimee Mann, Sarah McLachlan, or particularly, Sheryl Crow. In fact, in the first few lines of the first track, you could be excused for thinking that someone had slipped a you new Sheryl Crow album under a different stage name. That similarity doesn't last, though, and Marks quickly makes it clear that although she accepts influences from those singers, she is her own woman. She shows an unusual mix of vulnerability and an independence that occasionally bring Ani DiFranco.to mind.

This is a 'self-titled' album, but don't be fooled into expecting an amateurish first attempt. This is an accomplished artist. The lyrics are poignant, the songwriting is mature, and the arrangements are sophisticated. None of which should be a surprise considering that this is Jennifer's 4th album, and her credits include movie and TV soundtracks. And in addition, she has featured in a variety of songwriters' showcases.

Marks has elected to forego her own label "Red Kurl Records" (look at the cover-art and guess where the name came from), and has signed with Bardic Records instead. We hope they do a good job with the packaging our promo copy was somewhat austere and economic on information.

No, it's not progressive. Yes, it's radio-friendly. But it's some of the better pop we've heard in a long time.

Track Listing:
1. Live (3:19)
2. Window (3:44)
3. Raggedy Ann (3:48)
4. Any Other Way (3:05)
5. Naked (3:24)
6. Walk Away (4:03)
7. Make It Right (3:48)
8. Avalanche (3:20)
9. Fragile (3:31)
10.Thick (3:21)
11.Really Something (4:01)
12High School Reunion (2:37)

Added: March 23rd 2004
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score:
Related Link: Jennifer's Home Page
Hits: 3305
Language: english

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