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Marillion - Anoraknophobia CD (album) cover





3.36 | 550 ratings

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4 stars Anoraknophobia is my favourite post-Fish Marillion album, bringing together everything that makes them so wonderful to me. Hogarth's intense vocals and rich melodies are thrust forward by the some of the most inspired and rocking prog they ever made.

Yes I know nobody agrees with me. It doesn't surprise me. There are plenty of reasons why. The first is of course that the world is still full of Fish-nostalgics for whom Hogarth can never do anything good. Second reason and more relevant for this album is that Marillion has adapted a sound here that deviates quite a bit from everything else they have made. Only the preceding had a similar approach. Also that one did not go well with the regular Marillion crowd. It's a sound that has a bit more bite then their usual smooth melancholy. That brings me to the next reason, not only is it different, the kind of external influences Marillion has introduced here come straight out of the blooming alternative rock scene from that era.

Particularly Radioheads experimental rock comes to mind but there are plenty of other influences. Like trip hop for example, gorgeous tracks like Quartz and 21st Century have a rhythmic backbone and atmospherics that have a very big Massive Attack flair, marillionized to good effect. Between You and Me is a catchy upbeat song that comes very close to the music of New Order's album from that same magical year 2001. (What? New Order? Eugh!). And of course there's Hogarth's voice that will always remind us of vocalists from bands like Talk Talk and The Blue Nile.

Map of the World is the only letdown here. That track is way too cheesy for me. But that's 5 minutes out of 63, that's still 58 perfect minutes. More then enough I would think. When I Meet God and The Fruit of the Wild Rose would be the most typical Marillion tracks here. Beautiful melancholy with strong melodies supported by tasty laid back musical craftsmanship of very high standard. Less is more indeed.

Seperated Out is the second up tempo rocker and clearly not Marillions specialty. Not bad but not so convincing as the opening song. But the very best is yet to come. If My Heart Were a Ball should be able to convince even the most ardent Hogarth bashers and Marillion-is-no-prog believers.

Anoraknophobia finds Marillion taking careful steps outside of their comfort zone. Something that didn't please the fans much and with the next releases they would play safe and return to their more popular sound, and ultimately become entirely uninteresting (except to the fans of course). 4.5 stars for the anorak, my favorite one along with Fugazi and Afraid of Sunlight.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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