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Marillion - Afraid of Sunlight  CD (album) cover

AFRAID OF SUNLIGHT

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.79 | 496 ratings

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Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Marillion - Afraid of Sunlight

This album more or less consists of leftovers from their previous masterpiece Brave. In that way, that the album was knocked out and only released within a few months after Brave. It's a bit conceptual, as is Brave, and it deals with fame and the demise that follows upon that fame.

The album's first track is the song Gazpacho, the song is about a boxer (forgot his name right now) who supposed to hurt his wife. The name of the song refers to domestic violence and the fact that Hogarth (marillion's singer) connects spilt gazpacho soup (which is red) with blood on the woman's clothing from the wounds caused by the beating by her husband. The song starts with an announcement at the beginning of a boxing match, this really sets the mood for me. The song takes us through various moods. It starts of quite happy but during the song the atmosphere kind of changes and at the end it's all very dark with sound samples of helicopters and comments by a reporter on a car chasing. There isn't a single outstanding member of the band on this song (neither is on the whole album) but I always found that Hogarth's vocals are very good.

The album's second song is called Cannibal Surf Babe and is actually a parody on the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. When I first heard the song I really found it very annoying, but after hearing it a couple of times I really began enjoying listening to it. It's a nice upbeat song with some typical Beach Boys-like synthesizer sounds. The connection between the music and Beach Boys front man Brian Wilson is even made more clearly in the lyrics where Hogarth sings about him in the chorus. The song has nice groovy bass lines and the spooky sounding keyboards are something I'm very fond of.

Beautiful is a wonderful ballad about the fact that everyone is beautiful etc etc. I know not so original since almost every pop artist has about the same lyrics, but still it's a nice tune, a bit too long at more than 5 minutes, but not bad.

Afraid of Sunrise is an acoustic piece which I quite like, but hardly ever listen to. Halfway through there's a nice change of atmosphere for about half a minute, it gets 'darker' than. I really dig that part of the track.

Out of this World is one of my favourite Marillion songs. It's about Donald Campbell, a man who tried to break the world speed record on water, but sadly crashed while making an attempt and died because of that. The song is very dark and definitely one of the darkest Marillion songs up to this moment. The song's intro is superb. It starts with very low and dramatic keyboard sounds accompanied by effected guitar licks. Hogarth's vocals really blend in with this dark atmosphere. After about 2 minutes in there is a bit of a breakdown, but not such a breakdown that tends to lose your attention. Then an amazing, but very slow, guitar solo kicks off, which is one of my favourites. After the solo finishes, it is directly followed by a beautiful part which has the dark atmosphere but also has very nice piano on the foreground. Hogarth sings one of his best parts in Marillion history I think. "What did she say? I know the pain. etc, etc". After 5 minutes the song's first half ends and the second half starts. This half consists of mainly very dark synthesizer sounds together with radio samples of Donald Campbell's last words before he crashed. Hogarth sings another part with a very nice but haunting voice.

Afraid of Sunrise's twin Afraid of Sunlight has a couple of lyrics which are identical to Afraid of Sunrise. The chorus is almost identical, but it's sung in a totally different way and features two extra lines. Where its counterpart was a quite acoustic piece, this is a up-tempo rock ballad. Hogarth - again - is well present and that's a positive thing on this cd. There's a bit a lack of Steven Rothery's guitar, but he fills this lack up towards the end of the song with a nice, but very brief, guitar solo. My favourite part of the song is where the vocal melody is taken over by Mark Kelly's keyboard.

The next song is Beyond you. This is a very romantic and emotional song. It took me a while to actually like it, but when the song really touched me, I really loved it to pieces. This isn't a song I can tell much about, it's more an experience.

The closing track King is - I guess - about Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Elvis Presley. It's one of Marillion's most agressive songs and a real killer when played live. It starts with an amazing guitarlicks which only last about 5 seconds and then we hear a lot of radio samples about the death of Elvis the KING and other well known persons that in a while became a victim of their own succes. The verses in this song are all very quiet and accompanied by a very subtile and simple guitar chord. But when the verses end there are these amazingly heavy outbursts. The first one consists of a very nice synthesizer parts with in the background heavy guitar riffs. The second one consists of a highly energetic and aggressive sounding guitarsolo. 3/4 in the song the song stops and quietly begins to build-up again with all instruments quietly coming in to the picture again, resulting in an amazingly heavy climax to this already amazing album. When hearing this song live the amps are definitely wide open. The abrupt ending of the song really gives you shivers.

The Afraid of Sunlight album as a whole is maybe Marillion's most coherent album up to now. It has it all, the emotions, the complexity, the great lyrics, nice instrumentation and nice ambiences. I always like to recommend it to people who are new to Marillion, since it's quite easy accessible, but is also very representative for their music.

I'm giving it 4 stars because it is not as good as Brave -which I gave a 5 stars rating - but really, believe me, buying this one won't disappoint.

Tristan Mulders | 4/5 |

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