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Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made CD (album) cover





3.63 | 709 ratings

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5 stars 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' is the 17th studio album by Marillion, released on 17 September 2012. The album opens with the epic, 17-minute "Gaza." This is one of the heaviest songs by Marillion, not only musically, but lyrically too. "Gaza" is among the most overtly political Marillion songs, along with "Forgotten Sons" (from 'Script for a Jester's Tear') and "The King of Sunset Town" (from 'Seasons End'). The lyrics are told from the perspective of a boy growing up in the Gaza Strip. Steve Hogarth apparently had a lyric for "Gaza," but was hesitant to use it. He didn't want to be perceived as a privileged British man talking about world issues. After many conversations with Palestinians living in the refugee camps of Gaza and the West Bank, Hogarth gained the confidence to use the original lyrics for "Gaza." I will refrain from sharing my two cents on the ongoing issue, as this is not the time or place to be doing so. However, I used to have some issues with "Gaza" that hindered my ability to fully enjoy it. As time passes, I enjoy the song more, as it truly is a beautiful piece filled with breathtaking moments.

The first minute of "Gaza" is ambient, and then the band enter. Steve Rothery plays an interesting guitar riff in 7/4. The music conveys a sense of foreboding. The music shifts to an ethereal bit with Steve Hogarth's pretty falsetto vocals. The music returns to the original guitar riff, this time with copious distortion. Ian Mosley's drumming is powerful during this section. As this opening section dissipates, the music settles in a more traditional Marillion sound. Then, Ian Mosley plays a heavy drumbeat, indicating the impending heaviness. Pete Trewavas enters with possibly his heaviest, most distorted bass riff ever recorded. Mark Kelly's synth tones has a similar timbre to that of a trumpet. Once this section ends, Pete Trewavas plays slap bass subtly while Steve Rothery plays atmospheric guitar melodies. The band slowly crescendos to another melodic section. After this, Mark Kelly plays a beautiful chord progression on piano that accompanies Steve Hogarth's vocals as he sings "it just ain't right..." Then, the whole band enters as Steve Rothery plays an emotional guitar solo. The coda ends the song on a sombre, yet intense note. The ending acapella lyric, "someday surely someone must help us," finishes the mammoth track strongly.

The title track is one of my favorite songs on 'Sounds That Can't Be Made.' I like the backing vocals on this song. Mark Kelly's synth tones add a futuristic element to the music. He also plays a keyboard solo that transitions into the grandiose coda; one of the album's many high points. I love the lyric, "only love can stop you from merely existing." "Pour My Love" doesn't sound like any other Marillion song. It's a great, soothing pop song. The following track, "Power," starts with great atmosphere. Pete Trewavas' bassline stands out right away. The chorus contains a gorgeous melody sung by Steve Hogarth. As the title suggests, the song is about power and the ways that it can be abused.

In my opinion, "Montreal" is one of the most underrated Marillion songs. It's the second of the three epics on 'Sounds That Can't Be Made.' Some people don't like Hogarth's lyrics and their conversational tone, as if they're taken from a journal entry. The song also feels like it was written stream of consciousness. However, all of these aspects of "Montreal" are part of why I love it and view it as a stunning centerpiece of 'Sounds That Can't Be Made.' I love the section containing the lyrics, "Welcome back to Montreal," as it makes me feel like I'm home. Marillion return to progressive territory during the 7/4 section with the lyrics, "We were invited to the circus..." The concluding section is nothing short of moving. The music gradually crescendos into an overwhelming climax as Steve Hogarth sings, "Je t'aime my darling." The last two sections are structurally similar to the last couple sections of "The Invisible Man" from 'Marbles.' I like how the lyrics convey the positive side of touring, which isn't talked about much.

"Invisible Ink" is a brilliant foil to "Montreal," and like "Pour My Love," is a wonderful pop song with infectious melodies. I like the little touch of xylophone and how it plays the same melody that Steve Hogarth sings during the chorus. The heavy opening riff of "Lucky Man" reminds me of 'Abbey Road' by the Beatles, particularly the songs "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" or the Abbey Road medley. "Lucky Man" is a catchy rock song that starkly transitions into the final track, "The Sky Above the Rain."

"The Sky Above the Rain" is the third and final epic of 'Sounds That Can't Be Made.' This is another Marillion song that I consider to be extremely underrated. Steve Hogarth's heartbreaking vocals and Mark Kelly's piano accompaniment together are exquisite. On the surface, "The Sky Above the Rain" is a melancholic ballad, but hidden beneath the tears are glimmers of hope. Steve Rothery's lead guitar embellishments and soloing complements the atmosphere of the song perfectly. The uplifting 6/4 coda ends 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' with optimism.

In conclusion, 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' is one of the most accessible and mature Marillion albums. I didn't know that these were sounds that could be made, but I'm glad they were. Thank you, Marillion.

Magog2112 | 5/5 |


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