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Marillion - Clutching At Straws CD (album) cover

CLUTCHING AT STRAWS

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.13 | 885 ratings

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JLocke
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This particular entry by Neo-Prog pioneers Marillion is somewhere in-between their masterpieces Script For A Jester's Tear and Misplaced Childhood, and their slightly less-satsfying Fugazi album when it comes to my enjoyment of it. There is some incredibly strong material on here that the band would arguably never quite reach again, but there are still a few moments on Clutching At Straws that sound like filler to me.

The best tracks for me are ''Warm Wet Circles'', ''That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)'', ''White Russian'', ''Incommunicado'' and ''Sugar Mice'' (the last of those listed tracks being of my favorite Marillion songs ever produced from any album). However, all the rest of the songs are hit-and-miss for me, and more misses happen on this record than the previous one, at least from my perspective.

However, the number of songs that do appeal to me are so high quality, it makes owning the entire album seem more worthwhile just so one can experience those specific tracks. I think Fish was once again writing about themes and concepts, but the narrative approach had left by this point, and the album doesn't particularly flow like a concept album. Songs segue into each other, and some references to the title are weaved within the track names here and there, but ultimately this album works much better when viewed merely as a collection of scarcely-related tracks.

The moments that move me the most make up for the weaker sides that this piece has, and overall it's still a great Fish-era Marillion record. Still better than Fugazi, as mentioned earlier, but not as good as this line-up's two masterworks. It's simply a just above-average record that should appeal to all who enjoy Fish's work, but it doesn't relay the same epic, forward-moving feel that some of its peers did. I think that is mainly because this particular line-up of the band was about to stop working together, and the tensions were likely higher than ever in the studio. So the final presentation may have been slightly tainted by this, but the music itself managed to dodge the bullet, and Marillion's last record withy Fish ended up being a very worthy final hurrah.

If you enjoy accessible Pop music with heavy Prog leanings, this one might even appeal to you the most out of all the Fish-era albums, but if you're more eager to hear the grand concepts and innovation of Script and Misplaced Childhood it probably won't help you reach the same heights while hearing it. Despite that, it's still a fantastic record, and an enjoyable swan song for this era of Marillion.

Happy listening.

JLocke | 4/5 |

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