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Marillion - Fugazi CD (album) cover

FUGAZI

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.96 | 906 ratings

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J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Weakest of the Fish Years

If you wonder why people throw around the phrase "sophomore jinx" so frequently, just give a listen to Marillion's second album, Fugazi. Their 1983 debut, Script For A Jester's Tear, received critical and commercial success, and is often hailed as a groundbreaking masterpiece in the dying 80's prog scene. Fugazi was the follow-up to this landmark prog album, and for some reason it just never clicked with me like the other three Fish-era Marillion albums did. I consider Script, Misplaced Childhood, and Clutching at Straws to all be masterpieces and some of my favorite music ever, but this album always seemed to be a disappointment in my eyes. Despite that small rant, Fugazi is still a solid neo-prog album, with more than enough worthwhile music contained in its 45 minute duration.

The first question I want to address is "why isn't this as good as the other Fish-era Marillion albums?". There really is no single reason for that, but this album never hits as many high, climatic moments as the other Marillion albums. There is no genius concept like there is on Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws, and the compositions just aren't as great and memorable as they were on Script For A Jester's Tear. There are plenty of people who regard Fugazi as a masterpiece along with the other Fish-era albums, but I've always been let down by it. The songs are just too simplistic and aren't memorable enough in my opinion.

The sound here is still unmistakably Marillion. People always make the Genesis comparisons with the early Marillion albums, and while that is accurate in some respects, Marillion is by no means a Genesis clone. The only reason why there are so many comparisons between these two bands is because of Fish's Peter Gabriel-esque voice. Otherwise, these two bands don't have very much in common.

There has been a small change in lineup, as drummer Mick Pointer has been replaced by Ian Mosley, who has remained in Marillion ever since. Mick Pointer wasn't the best drummer in the world, and even though Ian Mosley got better with time, he still plays well on Fugazi. Don't expect any drumming as good as his future albums, though. Ian Mosley is much more restrained on this album.

This album consists of 7 tracks adding up to a running time of 45:54. Most of the songs are at least decent, but there are a few standout Marillion classics to be found here. Assassing, Jigsaw, Incubus (this one is my favorite from the album), and Fugazi are all great songs that could rival with songs from the other Fish-era Marillion albums. The other three songs are good, but really nothing special. She Chameleon is the weakest song here by a longshot. Way too repetitive and boring in my opinion. This album is still worth the acquisition for a few tracks alone, though.

The production is a weak point in this album. Whereas the 80's sound added some charm to Script, it just doesn't work here. The production is more annoying and treble-heavy on Fugazi and it really distracts from the overall value of the album. I wonder if I would've enjoyed this album more if it had a good production.

The musicians are always a joy to listen to, whether the music is top-notch or not. Still, there aren't as many goosebump-inducing moments on Fugazi from any of the members. Pete Trewavas is one of my favorite bassists, and he delivers some great basslines on this album. The other members play perfectly, but I miss some of the emotion that is in other Marillion albums.

Conclusion:

I was disappointed the first time I've ever heard Fugazi, and while I will never like it as much as the other Fish-era Marillion albums, I've been able to accept it as a pretty good neo-prog album. If you're a fan of the genre, you probably already own this album, but it's worth a purchase if you love neo prog and don't have it. This is a good album, but still disappointing and non-essential when put in the context of Marillion's discography. A 3 star rating is the most I can give here. There are plenty of people who regard this album as another masterpiece from Marillion, but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. This is the only Marillion album with Fish that I won't give the masterpiece status.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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