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Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear CD (album) cover

SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.22 | 1433 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Genesis of a prog band

I first came across Marillion not long after this album was released. I remember well that my initial impressions were that, while the band was clearly competent, their music was so derivative of Gabriel era Genesis, as to make them appear to be little more than a tribute band (stay with me here Certif1ed!).

I have to admit that with the passing of time, and having become familiar with Marillion's work over many years, that association is not nearly as clear to me now as it was then. The most obvious similarity is in the vocals of Fish vs. Gabriel, and I guess it is often the vocals which make the biggest initial impression. Looking beyond that however, while there may be some Hackett like guitar sounds, and occasional Bank's like keyboards, these are no more obviously derivative than the music of any of Marillion's progressive rock peers.

Yes the songs, especially on this their debut album, do tend to be structured (in terms of the story telling and incisive instrumental passages) along the lines of Genesis early epic tracks, particularly those on "Nursery Cryme", but the music is very much their own.

As a whole, I have always found "Script.." to be fairly inaccessible. To prolong the Genesis comparison, there are far less in the way of familiar hooks, repeated themes, etc., the songs being generally darker and more complex. The opening title track sets the scene not just for the album, but indeed for the band for the years which were to follow. I don't normally refer to other people's reviews when writing my own, preferring to read them AFTER I have committed my own thoughts. At this stage however I would refer you to the review of this album by "Certif1ed". His love of the album is as clear as his intricate knowledge of the contents. Cert's review is clearly a labour of love, and gives those unfamiliar with the album very useful guidance on how to approach it.

While I too enjoy the album a great deal, I find the overall package does not justify listing it among my favourites. I have some difficulty articulating the reasons for this without appearing to knock the album, which I do not wish to do (since as I say, I do enjoy it a lot). From a Fish era Marillion point of view, I prefer "Misplaced childhood" which I find to be generally stronger.

For me, the band are at times trying to be just a bit too complex (in the way the Flower Kings can appear to be these days). Had they developed some of the themes more, before rushing on to the next one, the tracks would have benefited from a greater continuity. I would also like to have had more in the way of instrumental breaks, Fish just has too much to say in each song.

These comments must however be taken in the context that I see the album as highly enjoyable and only slightly flawed, it is certainly one of the best debuts by any band.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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