Ian Marquis is a solo artist living in Bangor, Maine. He started teaching himself to play guitar, arrange, produce, and sing about ten years ago, when he entered college. Since then, he has put out a stack of instrumental demos where he honed his skills, eventually leading to a series of albums that are available on iTunes and other retailers. His style is a mix of rock, new wave, electronic, and a bit of industrial.
Ian Marquis says: “I treat the studio as an instrument. I obsess over the tiniest details in my mixes. I’m never happy with recording one guitar when I can use three. I like to take a simple story and dance around the meaning, never quite touching on it – I call this “Finnegans Waking”. I don’t think I’ll ever stop changing my sound. I write the songs that get stuck in my head. I want them to get stuck in your head.”
Ian’s fourth full-length, and latest album is “Faces From Static”. It features twelve tracks of progressive rock, very reminiscent of the 80s. If you love driving drum machines, great ambient rhythm guitars and keyboards, big vocals, harmonies and choral effects all wrapped into complex rock arrangements that are easy to listen to, then this is the album for you.
The traits of 80’s rock are all here. Original songwriting, dominant singer, polished musicianship. Creative arrangements, excellent melodies, restrained but tasty instrumental work, song after song. The tracks are anything but repetitious. These are the kind of songs that get into your brain and may even begin to stay there with their persistence.
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The only difference with the 80’s is that Ian Marquis’ upbeat songs, don’t crash into you and knock you over on the first beat like the head banger stuff of that era. They just gently shift into overdrive and build in intensity through the verses, reaching full stride at the chorus. “Slow Down” is a perfect example of this.
Ian also dabbles in the hybrid electro-pop/rock sound, where grinding bass and rhythm lines are meshed in with airy synths, as on “Call Me Crazy”, “Underground”, Paper Hearts/Paper Friends” or “Heisenberg,Revisited”. But for me the highlights are the stomping rockers like “I Know Better (We Are Broken)” and “Help Me Make It To The Night”, which also happens to be a Free download!
Altogether, I find the songwriting to be gratifying, the musicianship to be taut, and the sound quality to be pleasing on “Faces From Static”. The lyrics are meaningful and the performance is top notch. I can’t really think of a single thing wrong with this album.
Support indie music, but more importantly, if you need a strong dose of the tremendous song craft that drew you to rock music in the first place, get this album!
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