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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover

MISPLACED CHILDHOOD

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.24 | 1445 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Review number 250 - this is one of the most influential, timeless albums of the neo prog 80s. Marillion effectively reinvented prog.

Misplaced Childhood is Marillion's magnum opus. Each track blends seamlessly into one overall powerful experience. It is the best the band have produced unlike the flawed Fugazi and Script for a Jester's Tear, this CD works on every level; musically, conceptually and vocally Fish has never been better.

It begins with the hypnotic keyboard motif that I had to learn after hearing this. A beautiful serene piece of art with the wonderful vocals that chime in instantly transports us in to Marillion's world. The narrative begins of a man who is attempting to revisit his innocent childhood days that have been lost in the sea of fire - the trials and temptations that have plagued his life robbed him of the innocence and thus his dreams have been squashed.

''Kayleigh'' is the bonafide single that all Marillion fans have heard. It was my introduction to the band, found on the best 80s compilation CDs. Steve Rothery blasts a memorable riff and the keyboards soar over the top with a crystalline sound that is essential mid 80s fair. The melody is wonderous and memorable and one of the best from the band as a result.

''Lavender'' is another single that takes on the theme of the nursery ryhme that is a childhood memory but the lavenders - the positive side of life - is gone robbed by negative effects on the life of the protagonist.

"Bitter Suite" features a beautiful piano with encircling guitar motifs that hook onto an infectious melody.

"Heart Of Lothian" begins with an incredible introduction and them locks into an off beat metrical pattern that shifts from 4/4 to 7/8 and back again. There is an ethereal ambience in the keyboards that compliments the vocal prowess of Fish. His vocal gymnastics never tire on the ear on these tracks.

"Waterhole" is an anthemic rocker that leads seamlessly into:

"Lords Of Backstage" is an effective short transition track that segues into:

"Blind Curve" and here is where the album really excels. The vocals are poetic and Fish's artistry is second to noe. There are dark overtones but it feels uplifting simultaneously. Listen to Fish build to the crescendo climax as he reflects on the dark memories - "the childhood, the childhood, the childhood, oh please give it back to me" and there is a significant break in the meter where the jagged guitar solo launches into full volume. It is an amazing track and one of the best I have heard from Marillion.

"Childhoods End?" has a very deep bass line that throbs throughout and is significant to the dark tone of the lyrics. It is the end or the beginning of innocence? The concept is heavy handed but the real star of the track is Fish who wails up a storm with an amazing vocal performance: "it was morning and I found myself mourning for a childhood that I thought had disappeared - I saw you... Hey you, surprised... to find the answers to the questions were always in your own eyes, do you realise.... for she's got to carry on with her life and you've got to carry on with yours..." Simple and direct but effective to touch on the theme of a love lost and how to survive "to be reborn in the shadow" to find "the leading light of destiny burning in the ashes of your memory..." Powerful. I love the guitar riffs and the lead breaks over Fish's vocals "There is no Childhood's End, There is no Childhood's End, oh lead me on". Then the iambic pentameter changes completely in order to segue immediately into:

"White Feather". A low key track that is a low point on the album but it certainly wraps it all up concluding the CD, fading away in true 80s style.

How to conclude this review is to simply state the fact. This is as about as good as Marillion gets. The first few albums are all great but this is the masterpiece make no mistake. I would even be bold enough to state that if this album does not appeal to you, Marillion is perhaps not for you. But on the other hand for those of us who have discovered the genius of this band, this CD is truly a pleasurable experience. Great headphone music and one of the best outright examples of Neo Prog.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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