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Marillion - Clutching At Straws CD (album) cover





4.14 | 1224 ratings

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5 stars Although I think Script For a Jester's Tear has some of Fish-era Marillion's best songs, I think Clutching At Straws beats it out in my estimation as their best album. Whereas Misplaced Childhood was an occasionally twee look at an ultimately safe topic - everyone sympathises with romantic disappointment, after all - Clutching At Straws sees Fish directly confronting the subject of his own binge drinking behaviour which at the time was spiralling out of control. The opening triptych of Hotel Hobbies-Warm Wet Circles-That Time of the Night showcases this theme particularly well, Sugar Mice is a heartbreaking account of how people end up disappointing each other, whilst White Russian shows that through it all Fish still hadn't lost his social conscience.

Incommunicado, the single from the album, might be a fairly poppy merry-go-round, but like Kayleigh you get a lot more out of it in the album context - in this case, the jollity expressed by the song is clearly a facade which finally crumbles with The Last Straw. On the whole, the album sees an excellent performance from the band - in particular, Mark Kelly is absolutely on fire this time around - and it also features a deft inclusion of female backing singers which works far better than anyone could have expected it to.

It might represent the end of Fish-era Marillion, but talk about going out on a high. I think it's the best album they ever made with Fish, and must surely be in the pantheon of their best albums ever.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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