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Marillion - Marbles CD (album) cover

MARBLES

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.09 | 1079 ratings

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RedKnot
4 stars Marbles is Marillion's return to form after their wilderness years - post AoS/TSE, where the lamentable Radiation and Marillion.com saw the band shunning some of the cinematic and epic approach to attempt to appear relevant to the shallow and trendy early 21st century. Indeed, even Anoraknophobia, which DOES feel like Marillion, tries desperately to slip into a pair of trendy jeans that really don't fit them with drum loops and uncharacteristic atmospheres. That was the 21st century, indeed.

Thankfully, an epiphany of sorts seemed to have hit between the two works. 'I've lost touch. I shouldn't admit it, but I have...'. With those words, Steve Hogarth seemingly threw away the shackles of trying to stay relevant, and Marillion soared into their first bona fide classic in 7 years.

Marbles could easily have been their best prog album. With the remarkable Ocean Cloud, the aforementioned Invisible Man, and the superlative closer Neverland, this album contains some of their greatest work. Indeed, much of the album is still top drawer material - Fantastic Place, The Only Unforgivable Thing, Angelina and Drilling Holes all crackle with inventiveness and creativity, and excellent performances.

However, like all double albums, there is just too much on it. Genie is superfluous and mawkish offering nothing to the album, and 'Don't Hurt Yourself', whilst the lyric is certainly not bad, is just plain annoying. You're Gone sounds like a slightly better attempt at being a track from Anaraknophobia and The Damage doesn't move me.

However, curiously, the recurring Marbles theme is endearing and overall makes it appear quasi-conceptual. As an album, It could have been a Brave, but just falls short overall. Perhaps less really might have been more in this case. However, when it is good, it is very,very, very good indeed. Neverland remains my all time favourite Marillion moment. One they've still to beat.

RedKnot | 4/5 |

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