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Marillion - Clutching At Straws CD (album) cover





4.14 | 1222 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A single Fish?

Fish's final album with the band was for me a bit of a disappointment. With expectations high after the excellent "Misplaced Childhood" (MC) the hope was that "Clutching at straws" would find the band continuing to develop their own sound, while exploring new and more complex avenues. Instead, what we get is essentially an album of disconnected songs (even if there is a "concept") with basic structures, and more than a nod towards the singles charts.

With the unexpected success of "Lavender" and Kayleigh" from MC, is was perhaps understandable that the band should try to emulate this, but with "Clutching at straws" it seems to be done at the expense of anything remotely progressive. The overriding influence on the material is Fish's personal problems, with lines such as "So if you want my address, it's number 1 at the end of the bar" finding his heart openly on his sleeve. The problem with such themes is that the public (and indeed private) message becomes more important than the music (see Phil Collins!). That appears to be what has happened here.

There are of course good pieces of music, "White Russian" while somewhat wordy is excellent. "Incommunicado" is a good pop single, which did reasonably well chart wise, and "Sugar mice" manages to combine the painfully personal message with a half decent tune. It is ironic that the final track, "The last straw" pleads that "Everything is still the same", while Fish unknowingly(or not?) at the time, bids farewell to the band.

A passable but disappointing album, which made it all too clear that something did indeed have to change, and of course significant change was just around the corner.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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