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Marillion - Holidays in Eden  CD (album) cover

HOLIDAYS IN EDEN

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

3.06 | 458 ratings

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J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Not all of Marillion's albums have been particularly well-received by the prog community, but Holidays in Eden is almost unanimously agreed as one of the band's weakest efforts. Listening to the album today, it's not hard to understand why either - the progressive credentials of this 1991 record are limited, and by this point Marillion sounded almost entirely different than they did with their eccentric Scottish ex-frontman. Most Marillion fans were scared by the direction the band was taking, and many fans still have nightmares about the commercially-geared songwriting of Holidays in Eden. Of course, we now know that these famed British neo-proggers followed this up with possibly their most ambitious observation in 1994's Brave, but the poppy vibe of Holidays in Eden didn't entirely indicate that the band had a groundbreaking new sound up their sleeves.

Even though I do concede that Holidays in Eden is a very commercial-sounding effort, I disagree with reviewers that claim that this somehow makes the album 'poor'. This is a very inspired and sincere observation from Marillion, and a few of the songs here actually compete with the band's very finest efforts. Holidays in Eden may not offer very much to the average neo-prog fan, but in terms of progressively inclined pop music, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this!

The opening tune, "Splintering Heart", is likely to be the song that will appeal most to progressive rock fans, with its epic song structure and powerful riffs making for an exceptionally strong opener. "100 Nights", the final song, is the other 'proggy' tune on Holidays in Eden, and the rest of the album is generally pretty pop-oriented. I, of course, have no issue with this, and quite a few of the shorter songs here are downright excellent in my opinion. "The Party" features some spectacular vocals from Steve Hogarth, "No One Can" is a very straightforward, but also very beautiful composition, and "Dry Land" is also another favorite of mine. "Waiting To Happen" is a ballad that may actually be my favorite of the shorter songs on Holidays in Eden; I think this is a great example of 'pop ballad' done right. Steve Rothery's guitar work on this track is particularly excellent. "Holidays in Eden" is probably the least remarkable song here, but it is still quite acceptable. As is usual by Marillion standards, the melodic musicianship is terrific across the board and the production is crisp and powerful.

While I don't think this is quite as great as its predecessor or especially its successor, Holidays in Eden is still an excellent effort in and of itself - progressive or not, this is damn good music by some of the finest musicians out there. Holidays in Eden is well worth a listen for any fan of neo-prog, pop/rock, and art rock, and most open-minded Marillion fans may find themselves surprised by how solid the songwriting is here. Although it's not one of the best Hogarth-era Marillion observations, Holidays in Eden is still a magnificent and criminally underrated album.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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