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Marillion - Anoraknophobia CD (album) cover





3.35 | 515 ratings

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4 stars Aahhh, Anoraknophobia: the disc that put Marillion back on track. After the less-than-impressive, Marillion stormed back with a disc that re-established them as a world class act. Is it Brave? Oh no. Is it Misplaced Childhood? Nu-uh! What Anoraknophobia is is a disc by a band who aren't afraid to take risks. To stay with the trend without jeopardizing their integrity.

"Between You And Me" is an uptempo rocker that really sounds great live. Hogarth's voice has a grittiness to it, but still has that ever present power. Missing is a solo by Rothers, but he still manages to anchor the group with some great rhythm guitar work, and allows Kelly to add some nice keyboard work.

One of the surprises of the album is "Quartz", which is quirky and almost has a club quality to it. Probably one of Trewavas' best performances by driving the song with a funky bass line and the band just explodes on the chorus. Not since Brave has Hogarth given it as much emotion as on Anoraknophobia. Towards the end, in almost a fit of anger he declares, "I need maintenance! I need patience! I'm not foolproof! I'm not waterproof! I'm not shockproof, bombproof, bulletproof, fireproof, leakproof, childproof, stainproof, pressureproof!" Definitely one of the highlights of the whole disc.

I think "Map Of The World" was their attempt to make it back to the radio. Here in America the radio is about as exciting as Golden Girls repeats, so whether this worked elsewhere is unbeknownst to me. It has a radio hit written all over it, and they even went to an outside source for help in Nick Van Eede of Cutting Crew. What they gave us is a beautiful song that should've made it to the radio Mark Kelly provides great symphony-like keyboards, while Pete Trewavas holds it all together with some fine bass work. "Map Of The World" tells the story of a girl dreaming to see other places and experience life outside of her every day and tiresome world.

"She'll empty the sand from her shoes/In Paradise Sail out across the bay/She'll dance under an island sky/Until the break of day/She's got a map of the world/Pinned up on her wall/It's such a beautiful world/Glistening and magical."

This has always been a favorite of mine and still is. Great song!

"When I Meet God" took a little while to catch on... and it really didn't until I heard the live version on Popular music. It almost has a hint of the 80's with Kelly's keyboards and with the odd voice towards the end, but is still a good little tune. Not my favorite, but quickly earning my respect.

"Fruit Of The Wild Rose" keeps this from being a perfect album, in my opinion. It has a nice little jazzy section towards the end and some nice vocals by H, but one I haven't been able to latch onto yet.

A song dedicated to all the freaks, "Separated Out" really pushes the envelope. Producer Dave Meegan loves to have dialogue and voices in everything he produces, and has sound from a movie (The Sound clips used in this track are from cult 1930's Tod Browning film Freaks) playing along to help out with the story. "Separated Out" has a rockin' beat and gets Anoraknophobia back on a steady path after a couple of slower songs.

Anoraknophobia closes out with two songs clocking in around 9-11 minutes. The first of the two is "This Is The 21st Century" and we see Marillion tinkering with drum loops. Rothery experiments with different guitar effects to give it a Pink Floyd-ish vibe. Very odd lyrics, but ones that shows that Hogarth is an always thinking and questioning eccentric. One of the more surreal songs in Marillion's history, but one I really enjoy.

And a song that I've really come to love is "If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill". This song just hardly lets up. Mosley has never been a particular favorite of mine (good drummer, just not the style I look for in drummers), but he really shows a lot of power on this tune. The band does as a single unit. On this and throughout. Very emotional song!

Like I said, I think this is the disc that put them back on the right path. Hogarth has long since bid farewell to his co-conspirator, John Helmer (who came on to do some lyrics after Fish left and then stuck around), and has does a great job as the band's primary lyricist. The band really nailed it on this one and gave them momentum to create their 3rd (or 4th, if you count Afraid Of Sunlight) masterpiece in Marbles a couple of years later. Excellent work!

E-Dub | 4/5 |


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