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Marillion - Clutching At Straws CD (album) cover

CLUTCHING AT STRAWS

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.13 | 932 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Neo Prog Team
4 stars ''Misplaced childhood'' was the most succesful Marillion album in the 80's,followed by a huge number of shows by the band.In the meantime the everworking quintet of Fish & co.had to write down material for a new album.Influenced by the raw circumstances of fame the band was dealing with,Fish invented lyrics around Torch, a young man deeped into alcohol and hanging out in bars because of his meaningless screwed up life.The new album entitled ''Clutching at straws'' was released by EMI in 1987,again produced by Chris Kimsey.

Musically the album moves a bit away from the previous works' propulsive haunting moments and extreme atmospheres but still following a very dark and often pesimistic mood,for which Marillion were known for.On ''Clutching at straws'' the old Marillion meet with a new style the band was adapting by the time,that is lyrical, soft and atmospheric songs with a hidden intensity and far from the GENESIS' influences they delivered on the first three works, trying to pop out the most out of the band's originality.Tracks like ''Hotel Hobbies'', ''Warm Wet Circles'','' Just for the Record'' and ''White Russian'' are on par with their old style,an alternating smooth dramatic vocal performance often interrupted by flashy synthesizers,mindblowing guitar soloing and a dreamy mood.However most of the new compositions are much based on Fish'es unique performance and alternating chords between theatrical and crying vocal chords,supported by the spacey light keyboards of Mark Kelly,the now more GILMOUR-influenced Rothery guitar parts and the overall deep atmospheric approach of the band.Surprisingly this is still great MARILLION,the newly incorporated elements seem to fit exactly with the band's style and talent,ending up being a great concept album of trully professional rock music with progressive leanings.

Reasonably enough and before becoming himself an alcohol dead victim,Fish left Marillion the next year,tired of being manipulated by the band's management and dissapointed by the rest of the band,which decided to part ways with him than replacing the manager.

If you come across the 1999 24-bit remastered EMI version of the album,you will be lucky enough to listen to the demo recordings of a never recorded fifth Marillion album with Fish,which would mark a return to their early raw roots.Haunting, atmospheric and lyrical Progressive Rock of first class,this would be certainly to be a masterpiece to remember.Fortunately some of them ended up on the next fantastic release of the band.

''Clutching at straws'' is a great album.Not the total masterpiece like ''Script...'' or ''Misplaced childhood'' were,but a fine turn of the band on a more refined, emotional and less symphonic sound,prooving they could definitely establish a style of their own and a brand new window in the Neo Prog stylings.Highly recommended.

apps79 | 4/5 |

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