Prog is big, or at least getting more mainstream attention. The former bastard child of rock, scorned by critics, has been gaining more and more followers, especially in the fringe edges where dissonant rhythmic adventures meet with jazz and funk.
Perhaps the most celebrated practitioners of jazzy-funky-prog are The Mars Volta. Their recent records have actually debuted in the upper reaches of the Billboard® Top Ten. The Mars Volta’s members are also involved in a number of side projects, one of which is Zechs Marquise.
Zechs Marquise, which began in 2004, are based out of El Paso Texas. Originally called Monolith (they changed their name after finding a number of metal bands with a similar moniker), the band have been relentless touring machines and have gained a reputation for quirky, energetic, and music-focused performances. They are currently touring the US in support of RX Bandits and Dredg. While the bill might seem a strange fit, Marquise’s unique prog-groove sound melds quite well with the lumbering neo-prog of Dredg and is a nice counterpart to RX Bandits’s ska-punk sound.
Zechs Marquise’s sophomore release is entitled Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare, a perfect prog album title. The record was originally released digitally through Alpha Pup Records, but the band decided to release the physical CD through their own label, Rodriguez Lopez Productions.
Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare is comprised of 15 tracks which are interesting, unique, winding, and occasionally a little dull.
The stronger tracks are dense sonic experiments, with an infectious, memorable underpinning of hazy funk-ified rhythms. Some songs get too “noodly” and esoteric for some ears, even those, like mine, attuned to the complex patterns of shifting time signatures and start/stop tempo changes. The songs don’t venture into prog-length journeys; the longest track clocks in at a reasonable 8:03. The music has a uniquely melodic feel at times, though comparisons to The Mars Volta are going to be inevitable.
All in all it’s a decent if not explosive release.
- "In Strange Love" – 3:01
- "MagMar" – 3:55
- "Mistress Abyss" – 3:47
- "The High Anxiety Arkestra" – 2:22
- "Chase Scene" – 3:13
- "Rotten Candy" – 4:10
- "Attack of the 40ft. Wave" – 8:03
- "Pigeon Shit" – 4:16
- "Lady Endless" – 5:57
- "Strapped to the Mast" – 1:17
- "Sirenum Scopuli" – 5:25
- "The Sounds of El Morro" – 5:14
- "Wahaka Chop" – 2:04
- "Black Ark Dub" – 5:01
- "Our Delicate Midnight Opera" – 5:11