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Marillion - Somewhere Else CD (album) cover





3.04 | 558 ratings

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4 stars In my eyes, following up the masterpiece of Marbles is no small feat. While many have criticized the latter albums from the h-led Marillion for being too poppy or rambling, it seems that the band needed the epic of landscape of Marbles to focus on a new sound. Marillion has never made the same album twice, but some ideas on Somewhere Else are reminiscent of their previous albums, and seem to be a maturation of these ideas. What Marillion has created with Somewhere Else is not a masterpiece, but it is a very focused and powerful album.

The opener "The Other Half" sets the tone right way. The song is perfect, with Rothery leading the charge on a quick and strong solo. h's vocals are shimmering, frequently hitting notes in the height of his range. It's one of the best songs on the album - a dignified rock song, and classic Marillion. Guitar and piano are extremely prevalent throughout the entire album, and they are put to good use. "See It Like A Baby" starts with a somewhat dark tone, with Pete Trewavas' bass thankfully present in the mix. This song is packed with a layered sound and Kelly's keyboards fluttering beneath Mosley's tight drumming. Rothery once again delivers a delightfully wicked solo.

"Thankyou Whoever You Are" is disappointingly standard for the band, sounding a bit like "One Fine Day" from This Strange Engine. It never really breaks away from the chorus and the only memorable part is another quick solo from Rothery. Still, it's a pretty song. The following was a track that I feared, "Most Toys". The band released a video before the release of the album, and it had a very sickly sound. Here, Rothery's guitar is more cleaned up and h's vocals are more polished. This is one of the weaker songs on the album, but it's far from awful and ends quickly.

Highlighted in this track though, is the simplicity and repetition of lyrics found on much of Somewhere Else. It doesn't detract from the music, especially because h is singing with his usual passion, but it is worth noting. Lyrically, the most impressive song is the title track - which could also be the best song on the album. It kicks off with powerful piano and delves into a painfully personal account of Hogarth's divorce, who sings with amazing presence. After the ballad-like beginning, the song shifts gears when strings launch forward into a keyboard riff. After a steady build-up of tension, Rothery erupts with scorching guitar around h's cries. It's a remarkable song.

The beautiful "A Voice From The Past" also begins with a somber piano line. The track steadily builds beneath layers of keyboards before h sings alone, and is quickly re- joined by the rest of the band in a stirring climax. "No Such Thing" features distorted vocals and moves at a slow pace, recalling Radiation's "House". This song is more atmospheric than any other on the album, and works for what it is. What follows is the lengthy "The Wound". It begins rather intensely, and I don't care for the chorus. The track shifts around midway with more prominent keyboards and slowly fades away to the unsettling sound of crying.

h then sends a shamelessly political message with "The Last Century For Man". The lyrics are straightforward, but the vocals and music take a more elegant approach. Eventually swells of strings and diving keyboards signal the end of the track. An atmospheric wind serves as a gap before the album closer, "Faith". Much more in vain of "Made Again" than "The Space..." or "King", the song does a good job of ending things with an optimistic grace. Though the beginning is a pretty acoustic riff accompanied by sweet singing, the song jumps to life a couple minutes in. "Neverland"- like chimes and keyboards are overlaid strong bass and guitar work. The finale is softened with nostalgic horns and strings, and the song comes to a glorious end.

Somewhere Else is Marillion's most mature album. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and the work seems concise and focused. The production is a far-cry from the infinite depth and clarity of Marbles, but the sound here is much more open. The entire band is playing at the top of its game. Somewhere Else grows with every listen, which can't be said for a lot of albums.

Freak | 4/5 |


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