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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover

MISPLACED CHILDHOOD

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.24 | 1474 ratings

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progkidjoel
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Marillion - Misplaced Childhood

The only thing misplaced was direction... And they found direction!

Review by ProgKidJoel

Marillion's third studio album, MISPLACED CHILDHOOD, is considered by many to be their most consistent piece of art. This album is perhaps the least dark and distressing from the band with FISH, although is by no means soft, and is still emotionally stirring. Its worth mentioning this is a gapless album, and for maximum listening pleasure should be heard as such.

The album opens with PSEUDO SILK KIMONO, a soft synth and guitar track with soft vocals. This sets the scene for a prog masterpiece, although this is not immediately evident in the follow up. This track has a genuine falsetto vocal track by FISH, and some lovely guitar effects by the master, ROTHERY.

PSEUDO SILK KIMONO is followed by the band's biggest commercial hit so far, KAYLEIGH. This is an 80's classic, but be warned - This track isn't recommendable for prog purists and/or members of the anti-pop movement. Filled with great lyrics and genuine 80's synth effects, this carries nicely, and is a brutally catchy tune. The chorus is a real sing-along delight, and the guitar solo is fantastic. This is the track which blasted Marillion into the big time, making them worldwide number 1's overnight. The bass is also quite pleasing in this track, featuring a classic TREWAVAS bump-along texture.

Kayleigh, I just wanna say I'm sorry, but Kayleigh I'm too scared to pick up the phone, to hear you've found another lover, to patch up our broken home!

LAVENDER is another one of the singles from the track, and once again, features beautiful lyrics, vocals and all-round musicianship. This is a genuine ballad, but much like KAYLEIGH, isn't really prog based. This is a great track, albeit short. It flows into a guitar solo, and this is much extended on the single edit, which unfortunately is only available on the 2CD remaster. LAVENDER and KAYLEIGH lead perfectly into the album's first epic...

...BITTER SUITE. This track opens with some fantastic drum fills and spacey guitar. At around 1:30, this track takes structure with a flowing bass rhythm and eventual spoken word poetry from FISH. Soon after, some great vocals and synth effects come in. The lyrics in this track have always been a point of interest, as they are both incredibly poetic and emotionally insightful. This track eventually breaks into excellent drums with equally great guitar soloing over the top. This eventually reaches the same riff as LAVENDER, with different lyrics and a new vocal rhythm and harmony. The lyrics in this track are amongst the best any band has ever produced, and are near the peak for Marillion. This track is fantastic and leads perfectly into the next.

HEART OF LOTHIAN was the third single from the album, although was in a much edited format. It picks up perfectly where BITTER SUITE left off. The sound is incredibly 80's on this track, but it (once again) proves that Marillion also have technical chops as musicians. The track picks up with a joint guitar and bass riff, leading into a great 80's tune. The guitar work on this song is amongst the cleanest I've ever heard, and the rest of the instruments work in perfect macro to compliment the unnatural cleanliness. Around halfway through, this track changes pace, slowing down, but continuing with more perfect guitar work. The last minute of this track is known as CURTAIN CALL, and is much softer than the former segment, names WIDE BOYS. The lyrics in CURTAIN CALL are also fantastic, and the guitar work is similar to that of PSEUDO SILK KIMONO.

Marillion break up the pace with two shorter songs, the first being THE WATERHOLE: EXPRESS BONGO. This track opens with eerie guitar squeals, and continues with a great synth riff and some fantastic drum work. The lyrics are brutally angry on this track, and the guitar work remains demonic and erratic throughout the track's two minute length. There isn't too much to say about this track, and even though it is short, it adds massively to the sense of album over song, and also adds deeply and purposefully to the concept. This closes with much lighter synth work, leading into another track marked by the same changes.

LORDS OF THE BACKSTAGE is the shortest track on the album, and once again, this is still able to add on a critical level to the album. This track has some lovely synth and guitar synchronization work, and the lyrics are both entertaining and insightful in this track. This short song leads into the albums true epic, BLIND CURVE.

BLIND CURVE opens much more directly than many other tracks on this album, with great guitar work and near-immediate vocals. This is one of Marillion's most iconic tracks, and stands as the best on the album. Something of true fantasy and wonder about this song extends from its thoughtful phase changes - Through several moods and emotions, this track still feels like one, even after various breaks and splits. This is a great song, and is the centerpiece to the album. This is the album's proggiest track, featuring an epic guitar bridge worthy of the masters who inspired it. After this short interlude, the album has another spoken word moment over darkly intense bass noise and guitar effects. This is one of Marillion's most emotionally revealing moments, with an epic buildup and ear piercing vocals. This continues into a song of protest, and is one of Marillion's strongest which fall into this category. The lyrics are brilliant, although brutally honest about the problems faced by society today. This track ends with the same riff as LAVENDER, and flows into my favourite track on the album!

CHILDHOOD'S END is one of Marillion's best songs - Deeply insightful and anthemic, although still lighthearted and enjoyable on a poppy level. This is a great track, and has references to the cover art and the loss of innocence described so vividly in this album. This song is mostly about moving onwards, and forgetting your past failures whilst learning from them. This is much better than the PINK FLOYD song of the same name, and this is one of the defining tracks on the album.

You, poor child, that once loved, before they broke his heart. Our heart. The heart... That I believed was lost.

This track closes in a great prog fashion, with speedy synth and drum work all round.

WHITE FEATHER is another great short track, and the most important thing about this song is the closure it gives to the rest of the album. This is a truly angry track, but remains enjoyable and anthemic throughout its two minute lifespan. A choir of FISHES also helps this track to gain momentum, and the great instrumentation helps give a lot of quality to this song.

This is probably Marillion's best album with FISH, and has the most unique atmosphere from the four. The sound is different to every other album, and there is a reason this disc is considered the defining neo-prog album, and one of the best 80's prog albums - Its as close to perfection as possible!

An absolutely essential album for everyone!

-Joel

progkidjoel | 5/5 |

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