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Marillion - Clutching At Straws CD (album) cover





4.14 | 1224 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Of the first four MARILLION studio albums I would rank this behind only "Misplaced Childhood".This is like an autobiography about Fish's life really. Although it's supposed to be a concept record about a man called Torch and his addictions, and how he deals with fame.This is naturally then a dark album including the album cover that I have never liked. The front and back covers include Fish as well as some famous dead people, some who had addictions and died as a result of them. You could say that at this point in time Fish was looking for a way to leave MARILLION. He seemed to be escaping from reality through substance abuse and MARILLION was another part of his life he would leave behind soon after this release. All the songs blend together just like "Misplaced Childhood". I find this record to be not only dark but sad as well.

"Hotel Hobbies" starts off so quietly with reserved vocals until it explodes with some outstanding guitar solos. "Warm Wet Circles" is a great ballad-like tune with some good piano. Some soaring guitar after 3 minutes. "That Time Of The Night" (the short straw)" sounds fantastic when the keys come in. I like the tone of Fish's vocals as well as the guitar melodies. "Going Under" features synths and reserved vocals. I like it a lot.

"Just for the Record" is an ok synth laden, uptempo tune. It's the lyrics that are outstanding. "White Russian" has some great guitar and lyrics. "Incommunicado" was originally a jam song that the band would play for fun after a night out on the town. It became the big single off of the album. "Torch Song" has some monologue and I like the lyrics..."Burn a little brighter now". "Slainte Mhath" really reminds me of the eighties, and apparently the song title is like saying "cheers" in Scotland. "Sugar Mice" sort of plays out like "Hotel Hobbies" starting out quietly before becoming intense. Meaningful lyrics as well. "The Last Straw" / "Happy Ending" has the line "clutching at straws" in it and I love the aggressive guitar late in the song. Rothery is all over this record.

So there you have it ! A sad album in more ways than one. Fish's last words with MARILLION. Infamous last words.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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