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Marillion - Clutching At Straws CD (album) cover





4.14 | 1224 ratings

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2 stars Welcome to 'Misplaced Childhood II'.

With the same song structures, the same album structure, the same balance of instruments, but without the same power or integrity, 'Clutching At Straws' is surely an ironic title. As did 'Lavender' in 'Misplaced Childhood', so 'Warm Wet Circles' lends its theme to the album. 'Clutching At Straws', like its predecessor, is supposed to be listened to as a whole.

As long as it's done well, I don't mind an encore album. This, however, is not that well done. It is very difficult to follow success, much more difficult than to follow failure, but a key ingredient is good songwriting. Sadly, there are few tracks here that can hold a candle to 'Misplaced Childhood', apart from the excellent 'Incommunicado'. The band proved later in their career that they are capable of a wide variety of musical statements: it's a pity they chose 'son of Misplaced Childhood' for FISH'S last album with the band.

Supposedly nakedly self-revelatory, the lyrics come across more as self-indulgent. Rather than beomaning his drugged state, FISH seems slyly proud of it. And why is the slick, overdubbed voice (so reminiscent of '80s PHIL COLLINS, ironically) used to express such personal songwriting? Sorry, it doesn't convince me. Perhaps had FISH sung as he did in 'Script' it would have made more sense. Oddly, his growing singing ability makes this album less credible. There's no real emotion here, apart from smugness.

The rest of the cast can sure play. They are very good. The simple fact is the material here is really not worthy of them.

Between two and three stars.

russellk | 2/5 |


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