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Marillion - Brief Encounter CD (album) cover

BRIEF ENCOUNTER

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

2.71 | 77 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 323

"Brief Encounter" is an EP of Marillion that was released in 1986. It's a compilation with two studio tracks and three live tracks. The two studio tracks are "Lady Nina", which is an extended version of the original track released on the single "Kayleigh" as the B side, in 1985 and "Freaks" which is a single version of the original track which was released on the single "Lavender" as the B side, in 1985 too. The three live tracks were released by EMI, the American label of Capitol Records, in 1986, coinciding with Marillion's live tour on U.S.A and Canada, on that year. Marillion was the band that supported Rush's "Power Windows" live tour, the promotional world live tour of the eleventh studio album of Rush.

Although aimed strictly at the American market and not officially released elsewhere, "Brief Encounter" was very much demanded in Europe especially because Marillion's breakthrough, with the departure of Fish from the band to begins a solo career. It was also important because the band hadn't released any new material in 1986. So, "Brief Encounter" became, in reality, their first work in that year, in terms of studio albums. Because "Brief Encounter" included two non album's tracks, the result was that the EP was widely available as an import record in the European shops.

Curiously, "Brief Encounter" was the only Marillion's release not to feature a cover art by Mark Wilkinson prior to his and Fish's departure from the group in 1988.

"Brief Encounter" has five tracks. The first track "Lady Nina" is one of the two studio tracks on the album. It's a song taken from their single "Kayleigh", in 1985 and it was the B side of that Marillion's single, which was released from their third studio album "Misplaced Childhood", in 1985. It was also released as a separated single on U.S.A., in 1986, and it was the A side of that single. However, this version of "Lady Nina" is a different version, an extended version of the original studio version. Sincerely, I don't like very much of this song, particularly, of this new version. It's possibly one of the the poppiest tracks the band has made, which means the hook is huge. But when the lyrics get flowery they still even work a bit in the context, fortunatelly. Stil, this is a nice and pleasant song to hear but, in reality, it's a song too much pop for my taste, that curiously, reminds me strongly the pop era of Genesis. The second track "Freaks" is the other studio track on the album. It's a song that never was released on any studio album of the band and that appeared on their single "Lavender", in 1985 and it was the B side of that Marillion's single, which was released from their third studio album "Misplaced Childhood". It was also released as a separated single in 1988. I don't dislike this track, really. The non-album "Freaks" is much more than the ticket. This is really a fun Fish's romp. The third track "Kayleigh" is a live version of the single version of a song originally released on their third studio album "Misplaced Childhood". This live version is identical with the one released on their second live album "The Thieving Magpie ? La Gazza Ladra", in 1988. This is maybe the most recognizable Marillion's tune. It's also one of their most accessible tracks. This is a very nice and beautiful live track, used by Marillion for several times as an opener to their live shows in Fish's era. The fourth track "Fugazi" is a live version of the title track originally released on their second studio album "Fugazi", in 1984. This is a great epic track. It's a fantastic track with great mood and a melody that changes all over the song. This is the ending of a great musical journey and an incredible way to close "Fugazi". This live version is also great. The fifth track "Script For a Jester's Tear" is a live version of the title track originally released on their debut studio album "Script For A Jester's Tear", in 1983. This is a fantastic song, a brilliant opener, and is, without any doubt, a memorable musical moment on that album too. It's clearly progressive rock music with a strong melody and sung wonderfully by the magnificent voice of Fish. It's a song that reminds us perfectly well the good old times of the progressive rock music, especially the masterpieces of Genesis in Gabriel's era. This is also a good live version of the original track.

According to the information inside the EP the three live tracks were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, in 1986. However, other sources say that "Fugazi" and "Script For a Jester's Tear" were probably recorded at De Montford Hall, in Leicester, in 1984. In fact, we can perfectly hear Fish saying "Goodnight Leicester" at the end of "Fugazi".

Conclusion: We can review "Brief Encounter" in two different parts, the studio and the live tracks. Relativelly to the two studio tracks, still that "Freaks" and "Lady Nina" be two nice tracks, they aren't essential in Marillion's catalogue in Fish's era. And I don't like particularly of this new version of "Lady Nina". However, there are fortunately very few weak songs during that musical era. In relation to the three live tracks, I think they're all three excellent live versions of the original tracks. Still, they don't add anything new when compared to the other live versions of those tracks. So, despite "Brief Encounter" doesn't add anything new, is the perfect companion to their debut live album "Real To Reel". Fortunately, both were regrouped and released on one double compilation named "Real To Reel - Brief Encounter".

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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