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

SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.22 | 1391 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Okay, I know, it's time! I will do it, no need to pay me and I do not need anymore prompting! I know some of you have been waiting for my theatrical take on this one, so here it is, in dripping splendor. For the others, don't bother reading further, it's a (yawn) booooring 5 star deal, again!

While it would be superfluous and even presumptuous to anoint this disc with "Prog Saviour", it certainly was a question of impeccable timing and in retrospect, a dying genre (for whatever reasons pundits wish to argue) was resurrected in extremis thanks to a talent, a vision and a dedication. We all know who the players are, they have been discussed, cussed, nailed, glorified, venerated and scorned ad nauseam within this site and countless others. This review will therefore stay away from the subplots and the corporate business contexts and stick to the music. Script for A Jester's Tear certainly inaugurated anew found spirit , slicing through the Duran Duran/Culture Club/A Flock of Seagulls monolith and found a still very hairy audience that demanded a little passion far removed from the "I Ran after the Girls on Film but Do You Want to Hurt Me" extravaganza bullied upon then impressionable youth. We have perhaps forgotten that this IMPORTANT recording starts off in incredible fashion, with the ultra-painful melancholia of the title track, sugared by mountains of Genesisian bitter sweetness, as far removed from a commercial hit as one can imagine, a brooding explosion of mayhem from a broken heart and the desperation that ensues. The guitar howls with exasperating fury, keyboards orchestrating the depth of the agony and the rhythm tandem follow radiantly in tow. Fish is not just a vocalist, he is a storyteller, a highly dubious character trait of progressive rock (that dinosaur genre, critics whipping boy). Yes, but do you love me? "He Knows You Know" hits you lyrically right in the gut ("he's got problems!") while Fish fervently spews his venom , "poison in your head" , raging convincingly, Kelly's synths whirl dervishly and Rothery spins some slick licks. This is the tune that most heard first, I know I did and it was a memorable moment indeed, even in Quebec where Prog never died. The slammed phone says it all as "the Web" kicks into hyper-gear, an über-symphonic avalanche ("Its symphony echoes") that masterfully contrasts 12 string acoustic pastels with colossal detonations of orchestral splendor, setting the velvet curtained stage for Fish to vent his deepest spleen. Temper, pique and malice are the props as the tall Scotsman sings like no other, crying, whispering, sobbing, raging and hurling his pain like some demon from a sci-fi movie. Rothery subtly comes in with an almost blood-drenched and gory "matador" solo that will lift every hair on your dizzied bleary eyed body. Frankly, I do not care if this is perceived as the second coming of Genesis, the music is positively brilliant and the entire premise exhilarating. These gents certainly had "cojones" to slyly slip by all the chat-topping elitist New Wavers, too smug in their lust and thus blind to the future legacy of this oft ridiculed band. Jokes on you, disco dudes! The disc only gets better, as "Garden Party" warbles through the maze, the reclining Fish hitting all the lofty ethereal notes, jousting with his burring Highlander intonations (crafty little devil!), slipping in a little porn, Kelly trouncing bolts from his banquet of keys and Rothery ramming home the champagne bottles , ice-buckets and all! Prog perverts, I daresay! And allegedly they probably got laid as often as the Durannies! Go figure! "Chelsea Monday" is where the boys get a little prissy, taking on all kinds of politically incorrect themes and getting positively rude musically (another Rothery barrage), gritty and angry as to create a new kind of prog-punk really! Progressive rock with a surly edge, a somewhat new phenomenon at the time and probably why they were immediately adulated by the somber masses who just couldn't cope with the nihilistic punk drone of the time. Lyrically, this is an acme of frustrated zeal, "patience my perfumed child". The background voices are like a riveting prog opera with wailing guitars slamming home the dire message. As if that was not challenging enough "Forgotten Sons" is an anti-war rant (twas the Falklands War, just finished) loaded with "snipers, fighters and boys baptized in war", Rothery's axe screaming like an Exocet missile aimed at the Sheffield, imminent burning flesh, innocent pawns in drunken generals' playgrounds and politicians' pernicious manipulation to save face. The guitar is raw, the rhythm is ballistic, marshalling drums and militaristic drills. "Verbal masturbation" is intoned with spit-laden contempt, for "Power and Glory" and "Amen" are extolled as the only refuge. Insanely heady and daring stuff indeed. These musicians actually had a social/political conscience, a cause which is how "rock" started out in the first place. A powerful and monumental recording that increases in value and majesty with each audition, year after year, a loving reminder of the musical Knights that came and saved Camelot. 5 feathered violins.

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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