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Marillion - The EMI Singles Collection CD (album) cover

THE EMI SINGLES COLLECTION

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.18 | 47 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It´s funny thinking about it now, but Marillion was a band quite ahead of its time, in prog terms at least. They were quickly to realise how important the music video was in the early 80´s: a new and powerful medium to get a whole new audience. While most prog bands simply shield away from videos, Marillion embraced them. The group already had a fanatical (albeit small) following at the time of their recording contract with EMI, mostly due to their constant gigging around the UK. So did other bands prog bands at the time (IQ, Twelfth Night, etc). However, Marillion was one of the very first prog band of their generation - if not THE first - to fully use the videos to promote their singles. And they did it very well, by the way. Fish proved to be a quite strong actor on those videos, which came across as not a real surprise for anyone who had witnessed his interpretations on stage with the group. Although not too many peple realize that, those videos were a major help to boost their way to become prog´s # 1 group of that decade. A trait the band kept on doing for some time after Fish quit and Steve Hoggarth came in as the new singer.

Now, I can´t say I´m a fan of music video, far from it. I much rather watch bands play live than mimicking in front of a camera. Besides, with a few exceptions, most videos are boring or, often, ridiculous. Few Marillion videos ever appeared on brazilian TV (and only the most obvious ones). So I was not exactly thrilled when I saw this DVD on a music store. I don´t quite remember why I bought it. Probably because I wanted to see Kayleigh again and it was cheap. But when I put it on I was quite pleased with what I saw. it is ok that some of the stuff is quite dated (image-wise, that is), a lot of the songs are edited and obviously there are two bands on this DVD: the new (or neo if you like) symphonic prog of Fish-era Marillion and the alternative/pop ditties of the group after Hoggarth took over vocal duties (it was not his fault, though. The band was already writing different styled music by the time Fish left. He claims this to be one fo the reasons why he went solo). Which may bring some mixed feelings. Early videos were obviously more primitive, but the music is far superior. Not that the Hoggarth era stuff is bad, it is not. But it is also way different!

Of the first half of the DVD, it is nice to see those hard-to-find clips of Market Square Heroes or He Knows, You Know (excellent Fish work on the latter). Keyleigh may be a bit overplayed through the years, but it is still a great song and the video is a classic. The funny Garden Party has the dubious honor of being the only existing recording - and just a visually recording - of ex Camel drummer Andy Ward with the band (his drinking problem prevented him from staying longer). Warm Wet Circles is the sole segment that is really played live (it was latter released as part of the Live From Loreley DVD).

Post Fish videos are more visually sophisticated, if not that great musically. The band was trying to conquer the american market in the late 80´s/early 90´s, so obviously they concentraded on their most popish stuff. Powerful tunes like Season´s End, Splintering Heart or The Space never got the exposure they deserved. However, songs like The Uninvited Guest, Easter and Beautiful are quite good prog/pop effords. And all the videos are usually better than anything that was being shown on MTV then anyway.

Conclusion: a surprisingly good collection of videos, even if some of Marillion´s most outstanding stuff (either with or without Fish) is not represented here. I found myself watching this DVD far more times than I initially thought I would. You know why? Because this band is great! And they knew how to make terrific videos. Something a lot of bands, prog or otherwise, did not have a clue of how to.

Rating: 4 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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