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Marillion - Script for a Jester's Tear CD (album) cover





4.24 | 2064 ratings

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5 stars Prologue: Those were disappointing progrock years for me, between 1978 and 1983, with And Then There Were Three by Genesis, Tormato by Yes, Love Beach by ELP and The Final Cut by Pink Floyd and even my beloved Rush flirted with reggae and new wave, on Signals in 1982. In March 1983 I stumbled upon an album that had caught my eye, due to the mindblowing artwork: Script For A Jester's Tear by Marillion. A year ago I had listened to their maxi single Market Square Heroes/Grendel but I was not really convinced of their potential. However, I took a look at the awesome vintage instruments (like Strat ' and Yamaha guitar, Rickenbacker ' and Fender fretless bass, Minimoog synthesizer and Mellotron) and the fascinating, poetrical lyrics. Then I decided to give Marillion a second chance, the rest is history.

1. Script For A Jester's Tears (8:39) : What an incredible and legendary first part with only Fish his almost spoken words and tender Grand piano, then the music becomes more lush and finally a bombastic eruption featuring howling guitar runs and emotional vocals ('Yet another emotional suicide, overdosed on sentiment and pride'). Next the composition alternates between catchy, dreamy and compelling, in perfect balance to support the wonderful Fish vocals and the poetrical lyrics. All topped by Mark Kelly his distinctive sparkling synthesizer flights. The outstanding final part delivers dramatic vocals and moving work on guitar, with the use of sustain (Steve Rothery is a huge fan of Carlos Santana).

2. He Knows You Know (5:22) : This is more melodic rock, wonderfully coloured by guitar and keyboards, with the focus on Fish his powerful vocals and his cynical lyrics.

3. The Web (8:48) : Another great start, now with a telephone call and then a climate that shifts between bombastic outbursts and catchy beats. We can enjoy those sparking Mark Kelly synthesizer flights, strong Fish vocals and a long and moving guitar solo, emphasizing Rothery his important role on this album.

4. Garden Party (7:15) : Cheerful melodic rock with a strong tension between the mellow and up-tempo atmospheres and tasteful work on keyboards and guitar. Fish sings in the vein of the provocative Jim Morrison: 'I'm rocking I'm f xxx ing !

5. Chelsea Monday (8:16) : A sultry atmosphere featuring subtle guitarwork (with slide and sustain), a buzzing bass and dramatic vocals ('Catalogue princess, apprentice seductress, buried in her cellophane world in glitter town, of Chelsea Monday)', culminating in a sumptuous outburst with fiery and howling guitar runs, goose bumps! The dramatic shifting moods match perfectly with the contrasts of the life of the young woman in this song, topped by awesome, very compelling guitarwork (sustain, volume pedal). The final part changes from bombastic to a slowly fading, dreamy atmosphere, with wonderful words about a sad situation. What a superb composition, legendary (neo) progrock!

6. Forgotten Sons (8:21) : Another very captivating and compelling composition about a victim of society, this time those who are unemployed and choose to go into the army. Fish shines with his venemous vocals and lyrics, the atmosphere fits perfectly with Fish his anger. Halfway another highlight in (neo) progrock, a breathtaking instrumental part with biting electric guitar runs, accompanied by propulsive drum beats, culminating in a very compelling final section with moving electric guitar and dramatic vocals ('On the news a nation mourns you unknown soldier count the cost, for a second you'll be famous but labelled posthumous'). In order to top this sumptuous neo prog grand finale, Marillion got the brilliant idea to use the unsurpassed Mellotron (choir section) in the EMI studio, again goose bumps!

The bonus disc: This is an interesting extra feature with often a more or less different colouring of the instruments, especially in Grendel (string-ensemble, halfway a jam session by guitar and keyboards and finally a guitar solo with wah-wah), Chelsea Monday (acoustic guitar, powerful Moog Taurus bass pedal sound and a remarkable presence of Mellotron violins in the final part) and He Knows You Know (softer climate, with Mellotron and organ sound).

Epilogue: I was 22 years old when I bought the vinyl in 1983, now I am 57 and listening to this album I am still carried away by Marillion their wonderful first album, timeless music! And it paved the way for the socalled neo- progressive movement, as a bridge between the Seventies and the Eighties. Because early Marillion is rooted in the classic progressive rock sound, but less self-indulgent and less complex. And it features that typical Eighties attitude: more song oriented, more melodic and more 'down to earth' lyrics. Marillion remained superior, and IQ second best.

TenYearsAfter | 5/5 |


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