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Marillion - Script for a Jester's Tear CD (album) cover





4.25 | 2201 ratings

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4 stars The comparisons to Genesis were probably more based on the fact that there was not much prog around in 1983. At least not in the mainstream which is where Marillion seemed to be heading from the outset. Partly thanks to the strength of their music, partly thanks to the unique performances of Fish, and maybe even thanks to their sleeve artwork, Marillion were talked about from their first EP onward. This excellent debut album has stood the test of time, and IMHO is their joint best album (if thats possible) with 'Fugazi', its follow up. 'Script For a Jesters Tear' is a a dark affair. The first three songs court ideas of deep depression through lost love, contemplation of suicide, living in isolation and solitude, and succombing to insanity. Sound awful? Well, to be honest the music sounds fantastic. Steve Rothery's guitar playing is melodic, his solos memorable. Fish's voice is haunting, and despite all the Gabriel comparisons is actually unique. The title track is one of the best songs the band ever wrote IMO, and has some of Fish's most lovely and un- contrived lyrics. The music changes between drama and melancholy in a captivating way. 'He knows you know' has a sharper edge, is laced with bitterness, and was an obvious choice for a single. The Web, another Marillion classic, closes what would have been the first side on the old vinyl. Again 'The Web' deals with concepts of depression and isolation, and has some of the most melodic guitar work on the album. In fairness there is not a duff track in sight. The eccentricty of 'Garden Party' is contrasted by the dark, moody allyways of 'Chelsea Monday and the album is completed by the angry 'Forgotten Sons' An anthem for those killed in action, viewed and commentated on by armchair startegists with no idea of the reality and horror of conflict. 'Forgotten Sons' is an important song for the time, making refernces to the Northern Ireland conflict. This was a big live number for some years.

As a debut album, SFAJT is brilliant, bold, brave and original. Ignore the Genesis comparisons. With the passing of time I have come to regard these as way off the mark. This album scores a four and not a five, only because the drumming was better on the albums that followed (when Ian Mosely took over) and the production improved thereafter too. In terms of the songs? No complaints at all. Highly reccomended.

Blacksword | 4/5 |


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