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





4.23 | 1989 ratings

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3 stars While the progressive rock revival of the early eighties gave birth to some excellent bands my initial impression of the early days of the neo prog movement was one of disappointment. Of that first wave of albums including Script For A Jester's Tear by Marillion and the first releases from IQ, Pallas etc, nothing came close to the excellence of the bands they were influenced by like for example Genesis and Yes. They fell short in the musicianship department and the songs though clearly inspired by the music I had grown up with in the seventies, to my ears were watered down versions with a more commercial edge.

With the benefit of twenty six years since it was released I'm able to look on Script For A Jester's Tear more favourably than I could have done then, judging it on its own merits rather than a direct comparison to the seventies heyday of prog. The word that went around at the time though was about this band called Marillion who were going to be the new Genesis, sounding like the band did in their early days. This was very exciting news as Genesis were now well and truly going down their more mainstream road. The reality was somewhat different however. Here was a band clearly influenced by Genesis, but lacking the musical skill and experience to truly pull it off.

Over the years I have grown to appreciate Script more as a reasonably good neo prog album. The six songs, most around the eight minute mark show a band developing their songwriting and musical skills with some decent melodies and enough space to stretch out over different musical themes. The results while being a little predictable at times and a bit leaden in execution, particularly in the rhythm section show a band with promise which would be fulfilled a couple of albums later on Misplaced Childhood and Clutching At Straws. The best of the bunch here is Forgotten Sons which flows better than most of the album, some of the musical joints lacking cohesion and some themes being undeveloped. Here though they nail it and create some musical tension, lacking on most of the record.

Script For A Jesters Tear while having grand intentions falls short of excellent, to a large extent down to the band at this stage lacking the musical chops to match their vision. Hats of though to guitarist Steve Rothery, who's Dave Gilmour influenced style was already showing promise. Marillion did get much better though and lets face it, this albums a far more satisfactory piece of work than the first Genesis album. Good but far from essential then.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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