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Marillion - Marbles CD (album) cover

MARBLES

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.10 | 1145 ratings

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Freak
5 stars This is the Hogarth-era's first masterpiece since 'Brave'.

I've been putting off writing a review for this album because I love it so much, and I don't want this review to be a couple paragraphs of non-sensical gushing. What first has to be said about 'Marbles' is how well it is constructed. It was pieced together over a three year period, and the polish shows. This is the greatest sounding record that I have ever heard. I am by no means an audiophile, but the depth and sonic quality of the album is outstanding. This goes a long way to giving the album replayability. I listened to "Neverland" for what must have been the hundredth time last night, and I found little nuances that I hadn't noticed before.

On to the actual songs - things start off mysteriously on "The Invisible Man," which chugs along on a hypnotic beat until it reveals itself half-way in. Hogarth shows what he's capable of on the opening track, the aging of his voice lending him authority and maturity, not detracting from his performance. The "Marbles" pieces serve as nice transitions, but only "Marbles III" stands above the others as a good individual song. The album's more pop-sounding songs, "You're Gone," "Don't Hurt Yourself," and "The Damage" are well constructed departures from some of the heavier material on the record.

The real meat of the album lies in the tracks, "Fantastic Place," "The Only Unforgivable Thing," "Ocean Cloud," "Drilling Holes," and "Neverland." "Fantastic Place" is the first time on the album that Steve Rothery's guitar work really gets to shine. His sound is fully developed and is somewhat reminiscent of Dave Gilmour's work - but it has a more nostalgic and powerful tone. "The Only Unforgivable Thing" begins with organ pipes in the background that found the cinematic track. There is a great interlude around midway through that makes the song memorable. "Ocean Cloud" is arguably 'Marbles'' most progressive piece, and it's a great one. This song shows off talents of Ian Mosley, Pete Trewavas, and Mark Kelly, who really play at the top of their games. It's a showcase for the whole band.

"Drilling Holes" is actually grounded on a really fat bass line by Trewavas, but it spirals around the foundation with grace. The song transitions from one section to the next, jumping all over the place in the course of five minutes. The best song on the album, and truly one of the best of Marillion's catalog, is "Neverland." It's a twelve-minute epic that has to be heard to be believed. Rothery's guitar is never more passionate than it is here, and Hogarth really sings his heart out. One of the most impressive things about the song that stands out after repeated listens is Kelly's synth work, which becomes more apparent on repeated listens. It's a truly beautiful song that evokes vivid imagery.

'Marbles' is a reminder of Marillion's continued excellence. The album works as a cohesive whole, and will stand the test of time and repeated listens.

Freak | 5/5 |

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