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After leaving the British Grammy Award winning band A Flock of Seagulls, Michael Marquart embarked on several musical endeavors, his most recent one being A Bad Think.
While the band is spearheaded by Marquart, he is accompanied by the vocals of his daughter, Samantha Marq, and the guitar playing of his old friend Ralph “Voodoo” Bruner.
The album has a melancholy, sometimes whimsical feel to it. The opening song, “Don’t Leave Me Out” starts with harsh, dirty guitars and desperate, processed vocals. During this time, Marquart recounts life with “you” being regrettable. The song then opens up with drums, lighter guitar, and a more audible voice. Once the voice is clear Marquart begins pleading with someone not to leave him because they are all he has. The song continues to switch between the two styles. It seems as if to show the struggle of wanting something that’s bad for you because it’s all you have.
The gloom continues on, as heard in track four, “Happy Little Pills” which talks about him taking a trip, which I found surprising because I interpreted the title as implying he was on anti-depressants. The song builds, starting with just an airy synth, then piano is added and then vocals, finally guitar and drums come in before the first chorus. Still, they are all quiet so we can focus on the vocals. Eventually the instruments pick up and his voice becomes another instrument rather than a forefront.
I would like to quickly point out the beautiful background noise in “Antique Doll.” It sounds like a modified guitar or maybe pure synth, but whatever it is, its whining resonance is wonderful to hear. Then, following up the song is more beauty, now coming from the smooth acoustic guitar that opens up and continues throughout “On and On.”
The album finishes with the title track “Sleep,” followed by “The Salesman.” Sleep is a gorgeous lullaby. While it is not a nursery rhyme, the lyrics instruct one to close their eyes and go to sleep. These words are supported by a slow, deep piano and ghostly strings.
“The Salesman” starts off methodically, vocals and guitar in sync. Then, we start to hear this rhythmic bubbling of sorts and the song gains some levels to its sound as more vocals come in to back up his words. I am not Marquart, but I think the album is his telling of a breakup that he didn’t want to happen and the thoughts that come with each stage of mourning for that relationship. We hear him go from missing what he knew was bad in “Don’t Leave Me Out” to laying the relationship down to rest in “Sleep” and finally looking back and realizing what went wrong with “The Salesman.”
Now, like I said, I’m not Marquart, but that’s my interpretation, I invite you to leave your own in the comments bellow.
Favorite Tracks: “Sleep,” “We All Fall,” “Happy Little Pills”