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Zechs Marquise

Getting Paid

(Rodriguez-Lopez Productions; US: 27 Sep 2011; UK: 27 Sep 2011)

Prog rock, without those pesky vocals!

If you’re a fan of progressive rock but you get impatient when the vocals kick in to interrupt the instrumental noodling, then Zechs Marquise is the band for you. The quartet relies upon the usual guitars/keyboards/bass/drums template to create its sound, with vocals kept to a minimum so as not to interfere with the constant shifts in tempo and rhythm. With most songs on Getting Paid in the six-to-eight minute range, there’s plenty of room for such shifts.


It’s an open question whether the songs have much else going for them, though. Opener “Getting Paid” benefits from a propulsive bassline and lively keyboards, and “Crushin’ It!” is a pleasingly thumping foot-stomper, but there are too many moments where the noodling just rattles along, going nowhere in particular. Even progressive stalwarts like Genesis and Yes understood the need for an occasional vocal hook — a verse or chorus — for the listener to hang on to. Without them, many of these songs blur together into something unexpectedly tedious, despite their constant jumps, or maybe because of them.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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