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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover





4.25 | 2264 ratings

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3 stars Misplaced Childhood represents a significant moment in my music listening history. At the age of 14-15 I was listening to the vinyls of my elder sister and brother, Dire Straits being my first favourite band. There were a bunch of prog oriented early 80's albums too, by e.g. Asia, Saga, Rush, Yes and Jon Anderson that I found interesting. At the time I didn't yet buy vinyls myself, I used to tape music on cassettes. And then I saw this band on TV, it was some New Year's night concert featuring many artists - I don't remember who the others were. I do remember the line "do you remember" repeated several times, and the singer had some red paint on his face. I purchased Fugazi as my first vinyl and persuaded my friend to get Misplaced Childhood. So begun my most dedicated fandom period of my life, lasting for a couple of years.

Since it feels awkward for me to write a review for such heavily reviewed album, I first thought to write one for the 'Kayleigh' single. I'm getting tired of reviewing singles so much, so here's my very subjective view on this famous Neo Prog milestone. I bought it on CD several years later at the early 90's, but it isn't my favourite of the Fish era, that honour goes to Clutching at Straws. And up to this day my reception of Misplaced Childhood is somewhat ambivalent. Like many other prog listeners, I find it a bit cheesy as a whole, with the super-clean production, sugared synth carpets and sentimental guitar solos.

'Pseudo Silk Kimono' is irritatingly all cheesy synths, but it functions as a conceptual mood-setter, followed seamlessly by the radio-friendly song for lost love, 'Kayleigh' (which I have as a ringtone on my phone nowadays!), which is seamlessly followed by another radio-friendly love song, naively romantic 'Lavender'. What is this? A potpourri of pop songs? Luckily, 'Bitter Suite' and 'Heart of Lothian' are multi-part compositions with various moods. I love the quietest, more mystified parts ("A spider wanders aimlessly...", and later, "It's getting late for scribbling and scratching on the paper...") whereas 'Blue Angel' and 'Wide Boy' sections are really cheesy, especially for the guitar solos. On the next album there's a lot more diversity in guitar and keyboard sounds. Is Misplaced Childhood perhaps over-produced in a way, emphasizing the sentimental concept?

The album is practically two side-long, pauseless entities, and that's definitley one of its strengths. The second part (side of the vinyl) contains the ultimate highlight, but there are also songs that feel like fillers to me. 'Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)', terribly boring. 'Lords of the Backstage' is refreshingly bold and bright. 'Blind Curve' is a magnificent journey into deep, sore emotions, and finally there's new blood on guitar parts too. The melody in 'Mylo' is spellbinding, and the creepily quiet section 'Perimeter Walk' gives goose bimples. Unfortunately the 'Threshold' section returns to the cheesiness and the similarily wailing guitar solo by numbers heard on the first side. 'Childhoods End?' is a fine, sunny and powerful catharsis after all the dark emotions the concept album has gone through. The synth solo at its end sounds very Genesis-like. But for me 'White Feather' is a boring anti-climax.

This is definitely an important album, but the certain weaknesses and the overall cheesiness make me round my 3 stars downwards. This is not to say I wouldn't understand five-star ratings perfectly well!

Matti | 3/5 |


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