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Marillion - Marbles CD (album) cover

MARBLES

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.11 | 786 ratings

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Clayreon
Prog Reviewer
4 stars During the last years, MARILLION has been the subject of many discussions on mailing lists and message boards. Everybody kept going on about FISH and Steve Hogarth and MARILLION still being prog or not, but let's forget all that and judge their new album without any prejudice. Though that's not always easy as I've always liked MARILLION, so I'm starting off with a prejudice myself.

The new album "Marbles" comes in three different editions. There's a pre-order double album in a beautiful carbon case, with a 128-page booklet, with some fine artwork and all the names of the people who pre-ordered in time. If you don't want all these names, you can order the double album in a jewel case and there's also a single retail version, which will appear officially on May 3rd.

I can certainly recommend one of the double versions because you will be missing quite a lot on the single album.

The album starts off with the more than 13 minutes lasting "The Invisible Man" which contains enough variation to claim that MARILLION still has some progressive capacities. After some indefinable noises, it begins with a rhythmic intro with lots of bass and drums. Soon it evolves in a quiet part with a beautiful vocal line. Every musician is doing some subtle things that you don't notice at first, but the more you listen to this track, the more you discover. Slowly it grows back into a more rhythmic piece and every one's contributions become more important. There's still a piano-vocal piece and a short slow bluesy guitar solo to digest to complete this track.

The second long (almost 18 minutes) progressive track is called "Ocean Cloud". (Not on the retail version). After a quiet sung start, accompanied by a great synth sound, and the chorus, we get to hear the real Rothery in a solo that will bring a smile on lots of MARILLION fans' faces. There's enough in this track, even to much to describe everything, and I don't want to spoil all the fun. ;-) This track is dedicated to Don Allum and the Ocean Rowers. If you want to know more about this guy, you'll find more info on www.oceanrowing.com/logs/don_allum.htm

Another great track, "The Only Unforgivable Thing", opens with a church organ and changes into one of the best MARILLION ballads I know. Maybe there's not a lot of variation in this track, but once more Steve Rothery proves that he's still alive and kicking.

"Neverland", which was already on the 2003 christmas fanclub album, is another long track, with a lot of different parts. The guitar solo of Steve Rothery even brings back memories of the early MARILLION.

"Genie", "Fantastic Place" (with a Chris Isaak 'Wicked Games' sound), "The Damage" (the only heavier track), "Don't Hurt Yourself" (Trewavas on acoustic guitar and Rothery on bass), "You're Gone" (the top 10 single, drum machine included), "Angelina" (a very quiet jazzy track) and "Drilling Holes" (which by times sounds like "A Day In The Life" by the Beatles) are all great tracks, which are not really progressive songs, but they all contain great melodies and superb vocals by H.

And finally, there are the four short "Marbles" tracks, which I initially didn't like, but they are growing on me. Still, they will never be my favourites. H sounds (deliberately?) false on them. They tell the story how Steve launched marbles high in the air with a tennis racket and crashed a lot of greenhouses in his neighbourhood. His father took away his marbles and that seems to have made a great impression on little Steve.

In my opinion, this is the best MARILLION album in years, but I'm afraid it won't change the opinion of the people who don't like the Hogarth era. Don't expect any "Hooks On You" explosions, because there's a lot of laid back material. "The Only Unforgivable Thing" is not giving this album.

>>> Review by: Danny (9/10) <<<

Clayreon | 4/5 |

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