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Mark Alexander - 'Sanctuary' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ed/12/07/1033_MarkAlexanderSanctuary_1298671413.png Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 25, 2011    
 
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Give this album a try – it will be a rewarding exercise.

Mark Alexander has just released his first solo album entitled 'Sanctuary'. Famous as pianist / keyboard player for Meatloaf and Little Steven, Mark has stepped up to centre spot to take on vocals. Also, apart from additional guitar provided by Randy Flowers (Meatloaf), all instruments are played by Mark himself. To add to this autonomy, all songs are also written, produced and engineered by Mark.

The album kicks off with 'The King' with its intro of foreboding strings and lavish layers. The main part of the song has a mid tempo pounding beat interlaced with Randy Flower's rock licks and a catchy hook and chorus. As opening tracks go, this certainly gets the attention and sets up the next track well.

'(I Know I Saw Her) Tonight' is faster and slightly more pop orientated with a very memorable chorus section. A 'throw in the kitchen sink' production of multiple instruments and great backing vocals keeps the song interesting throughout. This leads on to 'The Magic Clock' which I suspect is a personal love song and has a more sparse production with the vocals more out in front. In the days of singles promoting albums, this would have been the single as it is the most accessible track on the album.

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With Mark taking a break in vocal duties, 'Constantinople' is a Middle Eastern inspired instrumental providing the opportunity to display his piano prowess. 'Sanctuary' follows as the title track which is the clear keystone of the album, with a great atmospheric backing and crystal clear grand piano licks. Again, Randy Flowers adds to the sound rather than dominate it but in doing so keeps the track more rock than pop. 'My Secret Place' closes the collection and is more of a chill-out reflective instrumental piece leaving the listener in a reflective rather than rocked-out mindset.
I see this collection as a short album rather than just an EP due to the comprehensiveness of the message portrayed in the set of songs. Six tracks are sufficient to get the message through; four vocal based songs and two instrumentals provide just enough for a personal view of Mark's life and inspirations.

The accompanying booklet is graced with superb photos by Jamie Kaplan which accompanies the excellent cover art by Greg Beylerian. Inspection of the credits reveals that background vocals are in fact provided by Mark's wife, Janet Alexander.

In summary, give this album a try – it will be a rewarding exercise. Further information about how to purchase this album can be found at www.markalexandermusic.com.

Rob McKenzie

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