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Marillion - Brave CD (album) cover





3.97 | 1001 ratings

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2 stars When I started my second batch of reviews I did not know the daunting task I would be confronted with. Reviewing (almost) the entire catalogue of bands like TFK, Cast, Mostly Autumn and Marillion is quite time consuming. Not only will those bands produce lots of albums, but they will as well release very long ones (lots of double CD sets as well).

As I have already mentioned, I discovered Marillion quite recently (2001) with "Misplaced". "Script" followed in 2003 and based on that I purchased almost their entire catalogue (up to "The Strange Machine") without knowing that Marillion was made of two bands. The genuine one and the Mark II one. Unlike Purple, this Marillion Mark II will be a difficult story for me and won't appeal to my musical taste.

Between the time of purchase (2004) and this review, I guess that I have listened to this work about three times. Even "Season's End", "Holidays in Eden", "Afraid of Sunlight" or "The strange Engine" have scored substantially better. I have never been able to enter into this soporific and dull "concept" album.

But since I saw all these high ratings, I thought that there was maybe something more to get out of this album. The remastered version offers a very nice and instructive leaflet with the history of this recording, how the project evolved etc. This is the most interesting part of the whole.

From the mouth of Steve (Rothery), we'll learn that as a new father, I quote : "he felt very hard to be creative after getting only a couple of hours sleep". I bet you !

The band was already been writting for a few weeks, when Steve (Hogarth) came with a broadcast news about "the girl on a bridge" as a starting point for the theme of the album. What a great idea !

They decided to work with Dave Meagan again (he worked with Marillion on "Fugazzi"). He was mainly appointed because : "we loved the vitality in a lot of Dave's work". I guess he left his vitality outside of the studio because apart from extremely melancholic (and boring) tunes there is not an inch of vitality here.

Just listen to the long suite "Goodbye To All etc.") to be convinced. These are really very dull twelve long and useless minutes. Don't worry, with "The Hollow Man" you'll get an additional four minutes of the same treatment. Boooooring, I tell you.

And when the band tries to be a bit more dynamic, they will produce a track as "Hard To Love" which is a PITA all the way through.

Steve (Hogarth) will be more explicit about the "concept" : "The Bristol police had picked up a young woman wandering on the Severn Bridge who refused or was unable to speak to them. In desperation the appeal was broadcast to the general public in an attempt to discover her identity".

So, actually no trace of a suicide here. Sorry folks, it is not as dark as that... The first bearable track (IMO) will be "Paper Lies". Somewhat dynamic, just to wake you up. But it is already the eighth song of this (very long) album. At least a bit of rocking to escape the general mood.

About his appointment, the producer, Dave Meegan admits that he thought that : "it was an odd choice since most of his productions were almost exclusively indie style". But Mark II Marillion wanted an album between progressive and indie...

My preferred song of the whole double CD set, will be the almost all-instrumental (just ruined at the end by some "vocals" form Hogarth) "Marouette Jam". It is a very pleasant song : spacey and psychedelic. Not really in this Mark II tradition. The other songs featured on the second CD are not worse than on the first one. Acoustic and demo versions of the original songs.

All in all, I have been suffering for over two hours to write this review. I am afraid that some more dark times are ahead of me when I see the list I still have to review from Mark II Marillion.

Two stars for this one.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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