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Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1951 ratings

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4 stars In the mid 90's, I thought prog was all but dead (how wrong I was). Imagine my surprise to find an album from 1983 that was a genuine prog album! Well, "prog" as the genre that is, as there is nothing "progressive" about this album, even in 1983. If you mixed Gabriel Genesis with The Wall era Pink Floyd, you have a pretty good idea of what this sounds like. To be fair, Fish is a fairly unique singer and I think his resemblance (vocally) to Peter Gabriel is minor, at best. Still, the music is structured very similarly to Genesis' big numbers and it is easy to make the comparison. As an ironic aside, I once was playing Selling England for a friend of mine who had never heard it, and as soon as Gabriel sang the opening line my friend asked, "Is this Marillion?". I then had to explain that Genesis came first, so it was Marillion who sounded like them, not the other way around. In any case, the comparison is totally valid, even if this music is considerably more modern in production and execution (and, as we all know, Grendel uses a remarkably similar song structure to Supper's Ready, so the influence of Genesis on Marillion was obviously quite strong at the time).

The title track and The Web are my favorites, being the most dramatic and Genesis like numbers, with interesting melodies and changes of tempo and volume. Garden Party is a fun song, probably the most similar to Genesis in musical and lyrical content, a very infections keyboard and bass line going on in it. He Knows You Know, reminds me more of Wall era Floyd than Genesis, with it's dark minor keys and somewhat shrieky vocals. Chelsea Monday is a quite beautiful dark ballad, beginning with a sublime bass line and Fish's most mellow singing of the album. Finally, Fogotten Sons is something of a mini epic (like The Web) and deals with contemporary political issues. A fine piece of music, if a bit disjointed in places.

From a purely critical standpoint, this is a good album. I couldn't stop listening to it back then, being a big fan of PG Genesis. And it has its own charm, and really doesn't sound like a copycat of Genesis music in the end. No prog fan should go without hearing this album, that much is for certain. It was a seminal moment in prog history, the beginning of the "second wave" (though people who were there in England at the time tell me that Pallas was more popular and was the one that everyone thought would have a big break through), and for that alone it deserves to be heard by every self respecting prog head. I give it only 3.5 or so personally, but I think for historical reasons it deserves the extra half star.

infandous | 4/5 |


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