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Marillion - Misplaced Childhood CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1970 ratings

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The SaidRemark
5 stars What a big departure from the first two albums.

Whereas "Script" and "Fugazi" were dominated by longish songs with bizarre lyrical themes and experimental song structures, "Misplaced Childhood" shows Marillion really coming into their own, commercially and artistically. "Misplaced Childhood" has ten comparatively shorter songs, five to a side. On each side, the songs blend into each other, a la Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," so the album seems much like one continuous piece of music. In fact, this was the way Fish intended the album to be approached; all the songs are linked by an ambiguous lyrical concept, and musical themes are reprized. Lyrically, this album is very personal to Fish, but this does not make it difficult for us to understand. Fish has poured his heart into this album, and it is impossible not to catch a glimpse of what he was feeling when he wrote this master piece.

The real difference between this album and Marillion's earlier efforts is the approach they take to song writing. No longer are songs extended beyond their natural life into monoliths like "Script for a Jester's Tear," or the dreadfully boring "She Chameleon" of the Fugazi Album. Marillion does not hesitate to confine their ideas to a song as short as 2 minutes, with as few parts as a verse and a chorus. Though this may be considered heresy by some more narrow-minded proggers, the pop-song format really works. Besides, Marillion were never all that progressive, even by neo-prog standards.

"Kayleigh" and "Lavender" are both prime examples of the success of the shorter songs. That riff on "Lavender" - brilliant! All the members have once again improved, even more space is allowed for drummer Ian Mosely, who really doesn't get all the room he deserves until the fourth album. He does, however, work perfectly along side bassist Pete Trewavas, whose baselines are always spectacularly groovy. Mark Kelly's atmospheric keyboards suit the music perfectly, the eighties keyboard tones are used tastefully alongside classic 70's Moog sounds. Steve Rothery delivers some of the finest solos of his career; each one is orchestrated perfectly rather favoring than a noodly, improvised style. Their refined method of song writing combined with new found technical ability allows them to deliver message much more efficiently than before.

However, Marillion did not completely abandon their roots. There are several longer songs very much like those on Fugazi - "Bitter Suite" and "Blind Curve" are both essential songs that capture Fish's penchant for poetry and political activism. Each one voyages through a number of musical themes with a level of fluidity previously unheard in Marillion recordings. Other progressive elements are still prominent - there are some great odd time signatures on "Heart of Lothian" and "Lords of the Backstage." The format of the album also makes the album seem like one tremendous entity, rather than a collection of short songs, as the track listing may make it seem.

All in all, it is Fish that really steals the show. He has done a noble job at pinning that "love song he never wrote," eluded to on their first album. In fact, "Misplaced Childhood" is that song. It is Marillion at their most heart-felt and passionate.

The SaidRemark | 5/5 |


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