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Marillion - Holidays in Eden CD (album) cover





3.16 | 758 ratings

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2 stars It's very rare you take an album home to play, only to discover that the bonus disc composed mostly of demos, is superior to the main album. If I was to grade only the bonus disc against the other albums in Marillion's discography I would have it ahead of albums like Somewhere Else and Radiation. The actual album in my humble opinion is a major letdown.

I feel the issue lies with the inability of the band to follow their own natural instincts that they are a rock band, not a pop band and can't do songs like Queen's We Will Rock You. They should have learned that from the experience in recording Hooks In You, from their previous album, Seasons End, but they seem to be wanting to pursue singles success at the expense of a higher aesthetic of a satisfying album. They basically are to get the formula right in 2000 when they gain financial support from their fan base and start producing their own material, selling the distribution rights to the record company. But this is 1991.

Marillion, have survived as a band for as long as they have without any personal changes, because of the way they function as a quintet. Each instrument in the quintet is a voice and no one voice is dominant over another voice. Marillion songs are architectural in nature and depend on building blocks to create the aesthetic experience. The creative process is more in the way the building blocks come together rather than the germ of the idea behind the song. Because of this the songs require a long gestation period so they can breathe.

The songs on Holidays In Eden weren't given an adequate gestation period. Chris Neil, who is a pop producer, isn't the right producer to engineer Marillion albums. A David Hentschel or Brian Eno would have been a much better choice. The songs are terribly overengineered on the album. The are extraneous guitars everywhere, drumming that's far too heavy for the songs, chorus voices that aren't needed and synthesizers that join in in all the wrong intervals. The material is fine. Splintering Heart, No One Can, Waiting To Happen and Cover My Eyes, which all feature on the live album, Made Again, are great songs and turn out much better there performed live than on this album. The Party is a very intimate song with strong lyrical content and better suited to the themes on the Seasons End album rather than here. The song Holidays In Eden sounds like a song by The Police. Dry Land, which is another intimate song, is given a dance beat. This Town -The Rakes Progress - 100 Nights is really one song. It has all the makings of a fine epic with a great guitar riff near the end but all that is wasted because of the over engineering of the synthesizers and guitars.

David Bowie had the right idea in that you never deliver the perfect album (unless it's the last one you intend making) because you want your audience to be wanting more and you need to hold something back. Also, you never make the same album twice because you need to be constantly challenging yourself as an artist and wanting to take your audience with you. With Marillion, somehow they forgot who they are and the result is Holidays In Eden.

iluvmarillion | 2/5 |


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