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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 | 1458 ratings

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The SaidRemark
3 stars 3.5 Stars

"Script For A Jester's Tear" is considered the cornerstone of neo-prog and is certainly a good effort, but Marillion had better work ahead of them. It sets the standard for what is considered the classic Marillion sound, and though the Genesis devotion is more than evident but far less than plagiarism. Though Mark Kelly and Steve Rothery are very much reminiscent of Tony Banks and Steve Hackett, the compositions are far less grandiose and technically less sophisticated. This is not a bad thing however. All solos and atmospheres are as well constructed as well as those of Gabriel-era Genesis. Besides, this band was destined for improvement, and by 1987, they would come much closer to the heights scaled by 70's prog pioneers they are so often compared to.

The line-up on this album is as good as it would get except for the drummer, Mick Pointer (later to be replaced by the far superior Ian Mosely). While the other members carry their weight and demonstrate impressive diversity in styles and tones, Pointer's drum work seems to be concerned entirely with simply staying solid. Though he does this well, his drum fills are uninspired except for in very few places. He works with the bassist Pete Trewavas create a very parallel rhythm structure, but adds very little of his own contribution, leaving the atmosphere feeling bland and soulless. "Garden Party," is a perfect example of this - this could have been an extremely groovy song, but instead winds up sounding like a machine because of Pointer's choice. Vocalist Fish, on the other hand, is by far the most exciting element of the band at this stage in their career, and they do well to rely upon him for this. His lyrics and performance are highly dynamic and always relevant, whether they deal with a broken heart, drug addiction, critiquing upper-class pretension, or the horrors of war. His voice soars through the roof in places, and if you've ever seen a live performance of his, Fish does just as well, if not better.

The one spot where this album is seriously lacking, in my opinion, is song structure. While separate movements within songs are very well composed, their cohesion in very often faulty. The band shifts tempo quite erratically, which not always is a bad thing, but here it often breaks the continuity. Also, parts stagnate without a refrain and merely build-up, then segue haphazardly into predictable epic outros. "Script for a Jester's Tear" climaxes far too soon, then attempts to rebuild itself before doing it again; "Forgotten Sons" is an assemblage of unrelated pieces of music, which despite their individual strength, feel awfully unfocused. Though Marillion's template for a mini-epic never changed that much, their work became more fluid after this album.

Aside from that, Marillion's debut album is a collection of six songs which show a level of professionalism which is quite exceptional for such a young band. This is a good place to get an introduction to Marillion, more accessible than "Fugazi" and a good preparation for the master piece that is "Misplaced Childhood".

The SaidRemark | 3/5 |

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