Nirvana

To Markos III

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Nirvana's third and final album for Island (sometimes titled Dedicated to Markos III in discographies) was extremely rare in its first 1969 LP issue, the U.K. release limited to a few hundred promo copies. The group's cutesiness was toned down considerably for this LP, though they were still offering the kind of light orchestrated pop-rock that they had on their previous Island records, with some jazz and classical influences. It's a more mature product than their first two albums, but a little tired-sounding, and lacking in the more psychedelic ambition that produced some of their best songs, like "Rainbow Chaser" and "I Believe in Magic." In fact they sometimes sound rather like film composers or pop-jazz-vocals singer/songwriters caught in a different era, what with the rather grandiose (and certainly grandiosely arranged) Euro-romantic sweep of most of their songs. Although the orchestration, often combining strings with harpsichord, is often sumptuous (if just short of cloying) and the melodies pleasant, not much of this sticks to the bones. The somewhat more soulful, straightforward rock of "Christopher Lucifer" and "It Happened Two Sundays Ago" provides some nice relief, if only because it's different from the wistful fantasy aura that predominated in Nirvana's world. This rarity gained easy availability with its 2003 CD release on Universal/Island, which despite remastering still has some noises that sound suspiciously like tiny vinyl bumps at the beginning of "Black Flower," one of the more dramatic and better numbers. Also in the package are extensive liner notes, though these (like those on all the 2003 Universal/Island reissues of Nirvana's first three LPs) contain annoying undue repetition of the text that appears on the liners to the other Universal/Island Nirvana re-releases.

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