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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover

MISPLACED CHILDHOOD

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.24 | 1447 ratings

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Alitare
4 stars I suppose a more appropriate moniker would be "mis-paced, mild-good"

Marillion - Misplaced Childhood (1985)

Overall Rating: 12/15

Best Song: KAYLEIGH and LAVENDER make up the album's best seven minutes

Now, Marillion are big, phony, cheesy, 1980's, soulless, derivative, pompous, Peter Gabriel era Genesis rip offs, and this is what everyone knows in their heart. Who needs that? Everybody! Damn it, this might be generic, and it might even be cheesy, but it's so damn beautiful. No one ever said beauty had to be original or innovative, but those things tend to help. Misplaced Childhood is Marillion's third studio album, and it is their first concept album. Everyone and their mother has to do one of these, don't they? Who's next? AC/DC doing a rock opera about dick jokes? Well, I'm here to tell you that Fish and his pack of nostalgic cronies have gone and done it. They've made themselves a Neo-prog masterpiece, which in general music terms means a generally great attempt.

Try comparing this to something like Selling England, and watch it crumble. The cynics could do this, and the cynics would be in their personal right to, but they're jerks, and I prefer to look on the good side to music, as long as there Is indeed a good side to be found. With MC, there is definitely a good side (here's the hint: it's side A). Intended to be one continuous musical track, the concept deals with childhood, loss of innocence, acceptance, grief, memories, nostalgia, and growing up, and really, that's a smashing summary of Neo-prog in general.

On the surface, this album might seem to be a larger shift toward commercial success, but don't be fooled, because musically, it's just as complex as anything on their debut album, only the music here is less diverse, but more solidly composed. There's even less sprawl, and at just over forty minutes, the band gets by with saying what needs to be said, with as little excess as possible. Kayleigh is a smash pop single, and rightly so. It's gorgeous, so don't let the brittle guitar jangle throw you off, those melodies are bittersweet and soul wrenching. Lavender is just as good, if not better, for the entire tune screams child-like innocence and naive beauty. These two tracks side by side are my favorite moment on the whole album, and instantly clutch my heart, so even if everything else totally sucked, I'd still have to give this sucker a decent score.

Luckily for us, the remaining material not only keeps itself from sucking, but it also happens to be pretty good, itself. Most of them are generic variations on the two primary themes in Kayleigh and Lavender, but they carry over the spirit, well. The rest of side one is occupied by two mini-suites that can keep my attention, but as a rocker, Heart of Lothian doesn't do much for me, ending side one on a relatively dim note, which is just sad, because it's such a great collection of music, in general. Even without the blistering standouts, side two has Blind Curve, which contains some of the bands most spacy and Pink Floyd inspired guitar shrieks, alongside Fish's usually exceptional singing. It's the albums longest suite, at almost ten minutes, containing shifting moods, complete with solos and brittle guitar melodies from that tasty jangle, and the vocal intonation that I oddly can't seem to dislike, no matter what.

For a cheesy concept album released in 1985, it's actually pretty subtle, at times. Some of the melodies wormed their way into my heart and just kept tugging at me, so no matter how blatantly generic their music is, it's utterly beautiful, even if some of the songs overstay their welcome, or a few instances don't seem to go anywhere, and the entire second side is hardly memorable. I love it, and can hold this particular release up with the classic progressive giants of the genre's heyday, any day, just don't tell Peter!

****

Alitare | 4/5 |

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