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Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1986 ratings

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4 stars I instantly liked this. With the first tones of the title song I got that reassuring feeling that this is going to be a pleasant ride. Where Misplaced Childhood offered a selection of songs that at once gave me a both hopeful and fearful view on the rest of Marillion's discography, Script For A Jester's Tear instantly clicked. With loads and loads of reviews, I'll at least try to get something across with this one.

The biggest problem I had with Misplaced Childhood was the fact that Fish dominated that record to such an extent that the rest of the band ended up in the background. That's not a problem here, as the band in this stage seem to have had a more democratic approach when creating their music. I love the fact that Mark Kelly's keys aren't trapped in the woodwork this time, and are allowed to shine with what they are. Melodic, ambient and providing structure without ever going over the top. No instrumentalist does that. Not even the emotional solos of Steve Rothery. It's all very solid and disciplined, yet always interesting and proficient and naturally this enhances the lyrical and vocal strength of Fish. I rarely listen very carefully to lyrics. Up until now Rush has been the only band that really made me follow the vocals as something else than just another instrument. I can now add Marillion. It's impossible not being drawn in to the world of Derek Dick when he delivers such powerful, dark lyrics in a dramatic Peter Hammilll-esque way. It's just that he does it even better.

It's when you listen to an album such as this you realise why neo-prog and symphonic are separated genres. Script is a symphonic album by nature, but it achieves that goal in a different way than we're used to. Without tens of different instruments, Marillion emphasises strongly on the synthesiser. Perhaps inevitable, but here it adds so much dynamics, tension, melody and atmosphere that it easily take on the role of an orchestra. Somehow understated, it still remains a favourite on the album, and Mark Kelly deserves the attention if only for the crucial role he has in shaping Marillion's sound. The arrangements are all very good, and this is another element making Marillion something unique in the 80's rock scene and something I think is often sadly overlooked by critics of the whole genre. There are some questionable segues here, I admit that, and some ideas wander off in the distance in strange ways. But this is a debut after all, the hunger and passion makes up for such problems.

Melodic, emotional and powerful pseudo-symphonic rock with lots of colours from it's time, and a very pleasing album. Very addictive: 4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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