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Punker turns Alt-Folkie

Jennifer Marks

Jennifer Marks - Jennifer Marks
(Bardic Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Reviewed: Aug. 7, 2004

Review by Andy Argyrakis

The name isn't instantly familiar and neither is the record label behind her, but Jennifer Marks is on her way into view and isn't wasting any time opening for some pretty prominent people. She's had multiple dates throughout her independent tenure, including one of her all time favorite artists Howard Jones, but is currently the opening act for Cyndi Lauper's At Last tour. The fact that Marks is a child of the 80s (who admits getting reeled in by Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin dueting on "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves") has made such experiences like heaven on earth for the singer/songwriter.
Despite her disposition towards that decadent decade, the developing artist has a much more contemporary acoustic pop flavoring, taking the throaty vocals of a Lennox crossed with a pre-ditzy Liz Phair and throwing it over personally played acoustic guitars and a studio backing band. At her strongest, Marks combines ear pleasing chord progressions with snappy songwriting, like the radio focused lead track "Live," the vocally expansive "Raggedy Ann" and the aggressive attitude of "Avalanche." The piano scooting boogie of "High School Reunion" is the disc's funniest gem, touching on all the stereotypes associated with the gossip-filled event.
However, not all of the performer's tracks are as congenial, with a handful leaning more towards the generic side. The hooks are hard to find through the bland ballads "Fragile" and "Make It Right," while the retro tinted "Window" sounds a bit stuck in the decade Marks' credits, but to a non-flattering degree. The project may not be perfect, but there's still plenty of promise behind this gal with a guitar, especially with continuous travels and refinement on the road.
Marks comes to the Rosemont Theatre opening for Lauper Saturday, August 21. For concert information, call 312-559-1212 or log onto

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