Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Marillion - Anoraknophobia CD (album) cover





3.40 | 488 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars It took a long while for Radiation and to grow on me, and they hadn't quite managed it by the time Anoraknophobia came out - so I wasn't feeling too good about Marillion's current musical direction. At the same time, I was rather turned off by the infamous press release that the band released at the time, challenging the music press to try and review the album without referring to Fish or neo-prog or any of the phrases usually used to discuss the band's earlier career. I thought the release was both extremely negative - seeming to say more about who the band weren't instead of who they were - and an enormous misstep, since antagonising the critics could only inspire them to be even more dismissive than usual.

So, on the whole when I first listened to the album I was in entirely the wrong mood to appreciate it, and like Radiation and I found it disappointing at first. But like those two albums, it's grown on me over time. In many ways, it's like the third in a series which includes those other two albums, in which Marillion explore ways to apply their progressive songwriting skills and distinctive atmospheres to the proggier end of indie rock - much like Porcupine Tree (and to a lesser extent, Fish himself) were dabbling in at the time, in fact. I also think it's the best album in that trilogy.

Firstly, it has the major advantage that it enjoys far better production standards and a much better sound than either of the two earlier instalments in this trilogy - the now-famous crowd funding method of using pre-orders to acquire the recording budget really did the band proud, it seems. Add to that the fact that the shorter, poppier tunes this time around are just plain better, with a richer and lusher sound and often a few more progressive twists here and there than the simpler and more stripped-down songs on Radiation or Whilst some of the band's experiments fall flat - H's daft little not-really-a-rap on Quartz still comes across as being very, very silly - for the most part they succeed in finally achieving the sound they'd been groping for on Radiation and

That said, the past isn't as far away as you might think. As well as a sample from Todd Browning's Freaks (which seems to be a reference to the Fish-era B-side), at one point on the album H starts singing lyrics from Chelsea Monday! You would think that if the band were that keen to distance themselves from the Fish era they wouldn't be making direct references to songs from Script For a Jester's Tear. I suppose this illustrates the gap between the band's public statements and what they were actually doing musically: just as they vociferously denied being a prog band, at the same time they were applying the lessons of the "new prog" movement as kickstarted by Radiohead and others, giving a psychedelic pop twist to it, and crafting it into prog-tinged melodic rock trips which are certainly progressive even if they aren't neo-prog.

However, all that is water under the bridge now. Marbles would see the band leaning back towards prog, a reconciliation with the term which would culminate in their 2010 appearance at High Voltage - proudly taking to the prog stage and proving more than willing to describe themselves as a prog band again. So in listening to Anoraknophobia now, I can leave all the cross words behind and let the music speak for itself - and it speaks very pleasingly indeed.

Warthur | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this MARILLION review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives