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





4.23 | 1989 ratings

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5 stars I was out shopping in Liverpool city centre with two friends, on a sunny Saturday back in 1983. We went into HMV to have a look around, and I spotted this album, drawn to it by its excellent cover. One of my friends, upon my enquiring about this, told me it was very good, from a new band who sounded a lot like early Genesis. Now me, being one of Genesis's biggest fans throughout the seventies, and having groaned at the downward spiral of their increasingly pop and chart influenced later albums, was immediately interested. So, without hearing any of it, (even though my friend had the album, unknown to me!) I purchased it. My initial reaction was rather mixed. Yes, there were a lot of Gabriel/Banks/Hackett influences, especially on the opening track, which reminded me a lot of 'The Musical Box', but some of the rest I found a little disappointing. At first. However, on repeatedly listening to the record, over the next few days, I grew more and more to be enamoured by its charm. For a debut, this is terrific, one of the best ever. Every track is a worthy effort, my favourites being 'Script' and 'Forgotten Sons', although this track is less like Genesis. 'He Knows You Know' has a superb atmosphere, with Mark Kelly's keyboards very much to the fore. 'The Web' has nice guitar work from Rothery, and flows seamlessly. 'Garden Party' is fun, and is probably Marillion's answer to 'The Battle Of Epping Forest'. 'Chelsea Monday' is far darker, with a tragic yet interesting story line. A good track but, if forced to choose my least fave on the record, this would be it. 'Forgotten Sons', as already mentioned, is, to me, a terrific piece of music. Fish's lyrics are, as usual, vitriolic, yet poetical as well. One of the best lyricists of his, or any generation. (He was born the year before me, 1958.) As a poet myself, his writing is right up my alley, so to speak! Some critics go overboard regarding the 'Genesis clone' theory. The truth is, these are neither as close to Genesis as some suggest, nor as different as others insinuate. Having read the band's biography years ago, which covered the period up to the release of 'Clutching At Straws', I soon discovered that Yes were a bigger influence on them than Genesis. Nevertheless, the title track here is very suggestive of Genesis. The two reasons for the comparison, in my eyes anyway, are 1) Fish's vocals, and 2) Mark Kelly's keyboards. In the early years, he played very much in the Tony Banks style, and this was a good thing for me. These days, they sound nothing like they used to do, and, although good in their own way, have lost that early charm and atmosphere they once possessed. The bonus disc here is interesting, although the version of 'Grendel' one of my fave Marillion tracks ever, is slightly inferior here. Likewise, the version of 'Chelsea Monday' plods and lacks the quality of the official album version. Another of my fave pieces is 'Charting The Single' which is here in all its original glory. Tremendous. A must have for Marillion, or prog fans in general, and one of the two best albums by this group, the other being 'Clutching At Straws'. Recommended. Early Genesis fans who haven't heard this, what are you waiting for?
chessman | 5/5 |


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