Marillion - Fugazi CD (album) cover





3.97 | 981 ratings

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3 stars It's been nearly 25 years since I heard Marillion's debut and it's taken me that long to give the follow-up a go. The first one didn't do much for me; back then I was more interested in the sonic adventures of Zep, Hendrix and Jeff Beck, and upon hearing Script For a Jester's Tear I think I muttered something like "It's too commercial". And though I can't say Fugazi has shown me the light, I do accept the band on their own terms and the tenacious, stylish, bathtub-loving Scot who fronted them. They didn't give a sh*t what anyone thought, and I like that. To be honest, Mr. Dick reminds me more of a poetic Rob Halford in attitude and attack than Peter Gabriel. As Clem points out, this is a somewhat troubled album if only evidenced by the quality and content of the cover painting. But it's about the music, right? Not some strung-out harlequin with bad taste in art and his naughty bits barely covered. Not a pretty sight but I can forgive that.

I suppose what Marillion really deserve credit for was having, despite the relentless Genesis analogies, a fairly original sound in their time. I mean what did we get in 1984; Under Wraps? Grace Under Pressure? Save U2, Metallica and a smattering of others, let's just say it wasn't a banner year for original popular music, and Prog was in deep recession. Marillion should have been welcomed universally, embraced as a vanishing "Progressive rock band" and given their due. But Prog's most ardent supporters had moved on along with everyone else; they weren't listening to Springsteen but nor were they indulging in the sort of late '70s nonsense this hard-working quartet were selling. When the party was over, it was fairly brave to push symphonic rock, as trimmed & tidy as this was. Even more impressive is that the album reached #5 in Britain. Not bad for an LP that opens with a 7-minute cut and has a junkie jester on the cover. Swaggering 'Assassing', well-conceived 'Punch & Judy' where Dick's voice begins registering distinct Gabriel-isms and filled with really nice little passages of melody and cross-harmony, and shriekingly sentimental 'Jigsaw' with its dignified request to "stand straight". Sounds of Selling England-era Genesis for 'She Chameleon' continued in pleasant 'Incubus' and the title as these torch-carriers show the influence they took, and had on, other bands.

Overall, perfectly fine mid-80s symphrock (or should I say "neo-prog") and though not my cuppa, is that really important? Yeah I didn't think so, and though not recommended to all, I do recognize Fugazi as an atoll of thoughtful music awash in the troubled ocean that was the music industry.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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